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Studies in Economics and Sociology Number 2 

THE FARMERS' UNION 

By 
COMMODORE B. FISHER, A. M. 




Publications of the University of Kentucky 
Volume 1, Number 2 

Lexington, Kentucky 
March, 1920 

Price $1.00 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924013716778 




THE STATE JOURNAL COMPANY 

Printer to the Commonwealtli 

Frankfort, Ky. 



Studies in Economics and Sociology Number 2 

THE FARMERS' UNION 

By 
COMMODORE B. FISHER, A. M. 



Publications of the University of Kentucky 
Volume 1, Number 2 

Lexington, Kentucky 
Makch, 1920 

Price $1.00 



PREFACE (J) / cj I cj ^ 



The belated attention that is now being given to agri- 
cultural problems and especially to the question of dis- 
tribution and marketing, calls for a close and impartial 
examination of all efforts that have been made and are 
being made to solve them. 

Leaders in this movement and students of it as well 
as the individual farmer, member or prospective member 
of some organization which may attempt to solve his 
problems for him, should not fail to give their closest 
attention to the Farmers' Union, which, probably more 
than any other one effort, has brought about a noticeable 
co-operative movement among the farmers. 

From a study of all available minutes of the Mass 
Meetings and National and State Conventions, together 
with papers and pamphlets, of the Farmers' Union, it 
has been possible to estimate the general tendencies and 
principles of this organization, as well as to present some 
of the definite actions, recommendations, and proposals 
that it has made. In this discussion, where reference is 
made to any such actions of the Union at any particular 
time, if no footnote reference is given, such action may be 
found duly recorded in the minutes of the particular meet- 
ing referred to. For making available these minutes, 
and a wealth of other literature of the Farmers' Union, 
acknowledgment is due the National Secretary-Treasurer 
of the Union, Mr. A. C. Davis, and to Mr. E. L. Harrison, 
President of the State Union of Kentucky. Especially is 
an acknowledgment of indebtedness due to Professor 
Edward Wiest, who suggested the possibilities of this 
subject and whose suggestions and criticisms have made 
possible this study in its present form. 

C. B. FISHEE. 

Lexington, Kentucky, May 15, 1920. 



Copyright, 1920 

by the 

TJnlTersity of Kentucky 



CONTENTS 



Chapter I. 

THE OEIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE FAEMEES' EDUCATIONAL 

AND CO-OPEEATIVE UNION OF AMBEICA, 1902-1920. 

Page 

An Appreciation of the Farmers ' Union -■ 6 

The Union's Estimate of Itself 5 

The Union Organization 6 

The Origin and History of the Farmers' Union 8 

Conditions under which the Union was Born .' 8 

The Originators of the Movement 10 

The Farmers ' Union, a Successor to the Farmers * Alliance 10 

The Development of the Farmers' Union 12 

Changing Seat of Union Strength 12 

Formation of the National Union 15 

National Conventions of the Farmers ' Union Briefly Summarized 18 

General Summary of Mass Meetings and National Conventions 19 

Eesolutions Presented to the Peace Conference at Paris 29 

Conclusion 32 

Chapter II. 

CO-OPEEATIVE ACTIVITIES OF THE PAEMEES' UNION 

General Principles 33 

Co-operative Selling 35 

Co-operative Buying 40 

Co-operative Manufacturing 42 

Co-operative Insurance 43 

General Summary of Co-operative Activities by States 44 

General Summary of the Farmers' Union Co-operative Movement 49 

Chapter III. 

THE LEGISLATIVE PEOGEAM OF THE FAEMEES' UNION. 

Union Purposes in Legislative Activity 52 

Progressive Movements Supported by the Farmers' Union 53 

Eural Credits and the Money Question 54 

A Definite Legislative Program 55 

The Farmers ' Union and the War 59 

The Practical Legislative Program of the Colorado State Union 59 

The Organized Farmers as a Separate Political Party 64 

General Conclusion 65 

Appendix A. 

The National Board of Farm Organizations g7 

Appendix B. 

Constitution and By-Laws of the Farmers ' Union gg 

Partial Bibliography '...'.' 78 



CHAPTER I 

THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OP THE FARMERS' EDUCA- 
TIONAL AND CO-OPERATIVE UNION OP AMERICA, 1902-1920 

An Appeeciation of the Paemees' Union 

That the Parmers' Union, alone, is representative of "American Big- 
ness" along co-operative lines, is the opinion of Henry W. Wolff, late Chair- 
man of the International Co-operative Alliance.^ Dr. John Lee Coulter 
estimates the work of this organization in the following words: "In the 
southern States the Parmers' Educational and Co-operative Union of 
America has been doing, a great deal of valuable work. The 

principal effort has been to secure control by the farmers of the cotton 
warehouses. This movement should continue until farmers control gins, 
warehouses, presses, and oil-mills. The same movement should spread into 
other branches in agriculture. "^ After describing the efforts that the 
cotton farmer has made to disentangle himself from a depressing credit 
system which kept him in a sort of peonage, G. H. Powell finds that, "the 
most important efforts along the lines described have been made by the 
Parmers ' Educational and Co-operative Union of America, and the ' South- 
ern Cotton Association,' although the latter organization is no longer 
active. ' '^ 

The Farmers' Union was one of five farmers' organizations — The 
Grange, The Farmers' Union, The Gleaners, The Farmers' National Con- 
gress, and the American Society of Equity — which were invited by Mr. D. 
P. Houston, Secretary of Agriculture, to a Conference at Washington, D. C, 
on April 23, 1917, for a discussion of agricultural problems as they con- 
fronted a nation at war.'* The President of the Union, and the man to whom 
the Farmers' Union owes more than to any other man, Mr. C. S. Barrett, 
was a member of Mr. Roosevelt 's Commission on Coiintry Life, whose report, 
made January 23, 1909, is now published in book form. He attended the 
Peace Conference at Paris as a special representative of the farmers, and 
was appointed in the fall of 1919 by President Wilson, as a member of the 
ill-fated Industrial Conference which was dissolved in its very beginning 
because of a disagreement over the right of "collective bargaining." 

The Union's Estimate op Itself 

Claims for Union activity and growth, as put forth by officials of the 
organization, though probably exaggerated, are indicative of the influence 
of the Farmers' Union whose total membership, as calculated from the 

» "Co-operation in Agriculture," page 2, P. S. King & Son, publishers, London. 
' "Co-operation Among Farmers," Coulter, page 275. 
» "Co-operation in Agriculture," G. H. PoweU, page 185. 
* Agricultural Yearbook for 1917, page 14. 



THE FARMERS' UNION 



greatest amount of dues that has been paid to the National Secretary- 
Treasurer in any one year, is 153,624. According to the Foreword of the 
Constitution and By-laws of the State Union of Kentucky, the Farmers' 
Union is, "an organization that has grown from nothing to four million in 
fifteen years . . . now the largest agricultural organization in the 
world . . . [which has] caused the manufacturers of Europe to cross 
the wide ocean several times, and, with American spinners hold conferences 
with its representatives at Washington, D. C. . . built and operated 

over 15,000 co-operative enterprises . . . etc." It is an organization 
whose activity has "fostered education, sought legislation, broadened social 
circles, encouraged fraternity, developed men and women, brightened 
homes, . . . and by its many efforts in business saved many times as 
much money to the farmer as it has cost to maintain it from its birth at 
Point, Texas, until the present time."^ 

According to C. H. Gustafson, of Nebraska, a man who has bepn active 
in Union circles for many years, "the aims and purposes of the Farmers' 
Union of Nebraska are to organize co-operative business associations among 
the farmers for the purpose of selling their products and buying farm 
necessities; to discourage the credit and mortgage systems; to educate the 
agricultural classes in scientific farming; to teach domestic economics and 
the process of marketing; to systematize methods of production and distri- 
bution and to eliminate, as far as possible, gambling and speculation on 
farm products, and to bring the business of farming up to the standard of 
other industries and business enterprises. ' '2 

The Union Organization 

The preamble, purposes, composition, by-laws, etc., of the Farmers' 
Union are given in the constitution of the organization. This constitution 
is printed as appendix B. 

The present constitution of the Farmers' Union was drawn up at the 
1919 national convention and later adopted by the membership of the 
Farmers' Union. At that time State unions had been organized in 25 
States and local unions had been organized in 8 other States. Representa- 
tion in the national convention, as provided for in the constitution, is based 
on one delegate from every State union having a membership of 1,000 to 
5,000, and one additional delegate for each additional 5,000 or major frac- 
tion thereof, in good standing on October 31st, preceding the meeting of 
the national convention. See appendix B. 

The National Union, as shown in Chart I, on the following page, is the 
central organization for the different State Unions and for those local 
unions that have been organized in States in which State unions have not 
been organized. State unions may be formed as soon as 5,000 male members 
have been secured. The State union is composed of county and local 

» Report of a committee appointed hy the Farmers' Union to compile data on oo-onflrnM«. 
leSta?* ''""'" '"'' ^^^*'" ^' ^' ^*"'^''"' Pt'esldent of Stote Union of K^XcS! 

' "Tlie Farmers' Union of Nebraslca," Wallace's Farmer, Jan. 2, 1920. 



ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OP THE FARMERS' UNION 



Chart I. - Showing the Organization of the 
Farmers' Educational and Cooperative Union 
of Amerioa. 



NATIONAL DHION 
STATE UNIONS AW) LOCALS 
IM UNORGANIZRT) STATES 
















STATE UUION: 
5,000, OB MORE 
MALE MKl^EHS 


LOCAL UNION : 
PiVJjl OB MORE 












\ eoUlITY UNION: 

i f lYE OB MOBii; 
CHAETEESD LOCALS 


LOCAL UNION; 
PrVB OR MORE 
MATS?, MEMBEBS 








LOCAL UNION! 
FIVE OB MOBS 
MALE -MEMBERS 





This is the organization as provided for in 
the constitution of the Farmers' Union. See 
Appendix B. 



THE FARMERS' UNION 



unions, county unions having been formed of five or more chartered locals 
and local unions having been formed of five or more male members. 

The Origin and Histoey of the Paemees' Union 

Turning from this preliminary statement of Union principles, we find 
that the Farmers' Union first gained prominence as a farmers' organization, 
in the cotton States at the beginning of the present century. The weakened 
influence of the National Grange, and the spasmodic growth and decline of 
the Farmers' Alliance and other farmers' organizations at the close of the 
last century, left a comparatively open field for just such an organization 
as the Farmers' Union. In addition to this lack of organization, the tem- 
porary prosperity of the war period 1898-99 and the following period of 
depression should not be overlooked as an explanation of the effort which 
is made to retain that prosperity which the farmer would not willingly 
let go. 

Conditions Undbe "Which the Union was Boen 

The chief aim of the Farmers' Union has been the prosperity of the 
farmer. It "grew out of a feeling of economic injustice suffered by the 
farmer. Its later history has shown that it has placed principle stress on 
economic readjustment and has been only secondarily a social and educa- 
tional agency. ' '^ The conditions that the founders of the order were trying 
to remedy, and the difficulties encountered in that attempt are given in the 
following extracts from Union literature : 

"Newt Gresham was sitting on a log one day at a crossroads country store, 
and observed the few woe-begone and debt-depressed farmers who came and went. 
Doubtless Newt Gresham recalled the time when the Grange, the Wheel and the 
Farmers' Alliance had made heroic but unsuccessful efforts to break away from 
such conditions as he was then witnessing, and in his heart of hearts he desired 
to aid them. . 

"The more he thought of his and his neighbors' wretched conditions, the more 
determined he became to make at least one desperate effort in behalf of the 
farmers of his neighborhood. ... He issued a call for his neighbors and 
friends to meet him . . . Nine men besides himself thought favorably enough 
of the plan to agree to the formation of an organization. . . . Shortly after 
the first local was organized at Point, Newt Gresham was invited to another com- 
munity to tell about the new organization, of which he was the founder. Soon 
other invitations of like nature came to him ... "2 

The following account is by Dr. Lee Seamster, President of the first 
Board of Directors, and one of the original ten who founded the order : 

"In the little town of Emory, Texas, in the year 1902, ten men met at various 
times and fully discussed the methods of formulating rules and plans by which 
the laboring masses might be allowed a voice in the pricing of their farm products. 
After meeting quite a number of times we decided to make an effort to organize 

' "Introduction to Rural Sociology," Vogt, page 253. 

^••Iliatorv etc., of the Farmers' Union," C. S. Barrett, page 118. 



ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE FARMERS' UNION 9 

the farmers and laborers. We proceeded to elect officers. We were all poor men, 
and, of course, it took money to put our plans in operation. 

"A sum of money was borrowed and deposited in the bank. Our committee 
reported on our constitution and our ritual were received and all advertising mat- 
ter and otber blanks were at hand, and we then put organizers in the field. The 
work progressed very slowly, and each month we checked on our deposit. For five 
months I sat over the books and listened to the words, 'We had better quit this 
foolishness, for we are going deeper and deeper in debt.' At last the receipts 
began to meet the disbursements, and our efforts began to reach quite a magni- 
tude, and everybody was discussing the progress of our Union. In 1903 we saved 
to the farmers of our country $6,000 in what is known as the ginners contract. 
The same year nearly $500 was saved by shipping our cottonseed ourselves."! 

Besides these conditions favorable to the organization of an extensive 
farmers' organization, due weight must be given to the fact that there were, 
in all parts of the country, men who appreciated the value of such an or- 
ganization as the Farmers' Alliance and many who had actually served as 
officials and organizers for that organization. This potential leadership and 
an auspicious time necessarily gave rise to an organization which, profiting 
from the mistakes of former attempts to organize the farmer, would strive 
to accomplish all the good that they had promised. 

Such an organization was the Farmers' Educational and Co-operative 
Union of America. Originating in the mind of one who had formerly been 
an organizer for the Alliance,^ the idea was given material form by securing 
the following Charter, issued in Rains county, Texas, under the authority 
of which, Newt Gresham, the founder of the order, organized the first local 
at Smyrna schoolhouse, Point, Texas, September 2, 1902 :^ 

Chaeteb* 
the state of texas ( 

COUNTY OP RAINS j 

Be it known that we, the undersigned citizens of Rains County, Texas, hereby 
make application for a charter for the following purposes, to wit: 

1. The name of the Corporation shall be "The Farmers' Educational and 
Co-operative Union of America." 

2 The purpose for which it is formed is to organize and charter subordmate 
Unions at various places in Texas and the United States, to assist them in market- 
ing and obtaining better prices for their products, for fraternal purposes, and to 
cooperate with them in the protection of their interest; to initiate members, and 

collect a fee therefor. ...... ■ ^ u 

3. Its place of business Is to be the State of Texas, and its busmess is to be 

transacted In Texas. 

4. It shall exist for a term of fifty years. 

5. The number of its officers and directors shall be ten, as follows: 

Dr Lee Seams.ter Emory, Texas, President; J. B. Morris, Emory, Texas, Vice- 
nresidenf O H Rhodes, Emory, Texas, Secretary; W. T. Cochran, Emory, Texas, 
Treasurer- Newt Gresham, Point, Texas, General Organizer; T. J. Pound, J. S. 



. Quoted from "mstoru. etc.. of the Farmers' Union," by C. S. Barrett, page 118. 

' "History, etc of the Farmers' Union," Barrett, page 180. 

' IMd., page 103. 
< nid., page 105. 



10 THE FARMERS' UNION 

Turner, T. W. Donaldson, Jesse Adams, W. S. Sisk, all of Emory, Texas, Directors. 
It shall have no capital stock paid in, and shall not be divided into shares. 
Witness our hands this 28th day of August, A. D., 1902, 

DR. LEB SEAMSTEK, 
O. H. RHODES, 
J. S. TURNER. 

THE STATE OP TEXAS | 
COUNTY OP RAINS 5 

Before me, the undersigned authority, on this day personally appeared before 
me Dr. Lee Seamster, O. H. Rhodes, and J. S. Turnar, known to me to be the per- 
sons whose names are subscribed to the foregoing instrument and acknowledged 
to me that they executed the same for the purpose and consideration therein ex- 
pressed. 

Given under my hand and seal of office this, the 28th day of August, A. D., 1902. 

(SEAL) T. S. MAGEE, 

J. P. and Ex-officio Notary Public, Rains County, Texas. 

(Endorsed) Filed in the office of the Secretary of State this 17th day of 
September, 1902. JOHN G. TODD, Secretary of State. 

I, O. K. Shannon, Secretary of State of the State of Texas, do hereby certify 
that the foregoing is a true copy of the charter of the Farmers' Educational and 
Cooperative Union of America, with the endorsements thereon, as now appears 
of record in this department. 

In testimony whereof, I have hereto signed my name officially and caused to be 
impressed hereon the seal of the State at my office in Austin, Texas, this the 9th 
day o£ January, A. D., 1906. 

(SEAL) O. K. SHANNON, Secretary of State. 

The Originators of the Movement 

Of the original ten men who composed the first local and are named in 
the above charter as officers and directors of the Union, all owned farms 
except Newt Gresham and J. S. Turner, who lived on rented farms. Even 
though these founders of the order were farmers, it is interesting to note 
that the president, Dr. Lee Seamster, was a practising physician, the Secre- 
tary, 0. H. Rhodes, was county clerk, and that the General Organizer, 
Newt Gresham, was a newspaper man.i 

The Farmers' Union A Successor to the Farmers' Alliance ' 

As a newspaper man and experienced organizer for the Alliance, Newt 
Gresham2 stands out as the moving spirit of the order and is so considered 
by Union members today. This personal connection with the Alliance, 
coupled with the fact that the Alliance also first gained marked prominence 
in Texas,3 and the similarity between the names "the Farmers' Educational 
and Co-operative Union of America," and the official title of the Alliance, 
adopted in 1887, "National Farmers' Alliance and Co-operative Union of 
America," may be considered as unmistakable evidence that the Farmers' 
Union is a natural successor of the Alliance. Constitutional simUarities. 

> "History, etc., . . . of the Farmers' Union," Barrett pace 103 
"For a biography of GreBham see Barrett's "Bistory " 394 

^"Farmers' Alliance Jlistorp and AgHcvltural Digest," N a' Dunnlns 



ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OP THE FARMERS' UNION 11 

also support this theory. The last of the declared purposes of the Alliance 
— "The brightest jewels which it gathers are the tears of widows and 
orphans . . . ," is probably the source of that part of the declara- 
tion of Union purposes which, it declares, is "to garner the tears of the 
distressed, the blood of martyrs, the laugh of innocent childhood, the sweat 
of honest labor and the virtue of a happy home as the brightest jewels 
known. ' ' 

Leaders of the Farmers' Union learned from Alliance experience that 
material benefits must come from membership in such an organization if 
the members were to be retained, hence the special attention given to co- 
operative activities, which are discussed in full in Chapter II. Union leaders 
also took steps to guard against the fatal results of political meddling, on 
the part of the Alliance. Early steps that were taken were the revoking of 
the charter of the first local formed in Texas^ because of political entangle- 
ments, and the meting out of the same fate to a Mississippi local for endors- 
ing a candidate. 2 

As an organization formed on carefully formulated general principles, 
and profiting from previous attempts to effect a vital farmers' organiza- 
tion, the Farmers' Union was able to harmonize and unite the numerous 
farmers' clubs and small organizations that were scattered about the coun- 
try, and to give form to latent sentiments and desires of the farmers at the 
beginning of the present century. As early as 1884 there existed a 
"Farmers' Union" in Louisiana.^ This combined with the Alliance in 
1887 to form the "National Farmers' Alliance and Co-operative Union of 
America;" this latter organization furnishing the basis for Union organiza- 
tion in that State and others. In 1907 the "Farmers' Union" of Illinois, 
which was formed in 1906 by a union of "The Farmers' Social and Econ- 
omic Union" and the "Farmers' Relief Association," united with the 
"Farmers' Educational and Co-operative Union of America."* These and 
other instances that might be enumerated justify the assertion that the 
development of the Farmers' Union has been a process of assimilation as 
well as of original organization. 

The failure in 1889 of an attempt to amalgamate the labor unions of the 
United States with the farmers' organizations, into "The Farmers' and 
Laborers' Union," separated the activities of organization work among 
these two parts of our citizenship. 

The subsequent success of the American Federation of Labor has in- 
spired the farmers to make more perfect their own organization. The 
Farmers' Union has profited from this inspiration and extended its activi> 
ties beyond its original cotton section until its influence is now felt in nearly 
two-thirds of the States of the United States. Its work among the farmers, 
however, cannot be compared to that of the American Federation of Labor 
among the laborers. The farmers are yet to be organized on such a large 
and solid basis as that of the Federation of Labor. However, the present 

1 and » "Bistory. etc., . . . of the Farmers' Union," pp. 103 and 119 respectively, 
3 "The Oranger Movement," Buck, page 304. 
'"History, etc., ..." Barrett, page 186. 



12 THE FARMERS' UNION 



attempt of the National Board of Farm Organizations^ and the Farm 
Bureau Movement give promise of important results for the farmers of the 
country. 

The Development of the Faemees Union 

The growth of the Union, by years and by States, as shown by the dues 
received by the National Secretary-Treasurer, is shown in Table I. Though 
this table may not do justice to the real strength of the Farmers' Union, yet 
it is the most complete, and only available official record upon which such an 
estimate can be based. In fact, we are of the opinion that the dues paid 
to the National Secretary-Treasurer represent only the nucleus of Union 
strength, for reports from different State unions show a far greater strength 
than is shown by the amount of National dues collected from that State. 
The $5,205 paid by the Kansas State Union as national dues in 1919, in- 
dicates a membership of 32,581 in that State, while the "Kentucky Union 
Parmer" for October, 1919, places the Kansas membership at 65,000, not 
including the 55,000 women members who pay no fees nor dues. A similar, 
though not so marked variation, may be seen in the official national mem- 
bership of other States as compared with the total "paper" membership 
that those State unions may claim. 

Changing Seat of Union Strength 

We cannot but observe, from a study of the amount of dues that has 
been collected from State and local unions in the different States since 
1908, as shown in Table I, that the seat of unionism has indeed moved west- 
ward. In contrast to the continually increasing amount of dues that has 
come from Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Colorado, we see a marked decrease 
in the amount of dues paid by Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, 
and Tennessee'. This change is made more apparent in Table II, and in 
Diagram I which is based on this table. The diagram plots the amounts 
of dues paid to the National Secretary-Treasurer by all union members in 
the different Grand Divisions of the United States from 1908 to 1919. The 
change is shown still more strikingly in Charts I and II, which show the 
number of union members per 10,000 of agricultural population in the 
various States in 1910 and 1919. 

Data for the construction of these tables, charts, and diagrams, has been 
taken from the minutes of the annual conventions of the Farmers' Union. 
The total amounts of dues, received annually from each State, as shown in 
the reports of the National Secretary-Treasurer are shown in Table I. 



» For an account of the organization and work of this organization, see Appendix A. 



Table 1 . -Table Showing tha Date of Organization of the First Local Union and of the State Union in the Various States of the United States, and the Total Amount 
of Dues Received Annually by the Secretary-Treasurer of the National Union from all Members of the Farmers' Union in these States. (1908-1919) 



STATES 


FIRST 
LOCAL 


STATE 
UNION 


TOTAL 


1!)08 


1!)09 


1910 


11)11 


1!)12 


1913 


1914 


1915 


191« 


1917 


1918 


1919 


TOTAL 


1904 
1908 
1903 
1906 
1907 

1906 

1903 

1900» 

1907 

1906 

1906 
1908 
1907 
1903 


1905 

1905 
1910 
1908 

1907 
1905 
1907 
1910 
1907 

1908 

1917 
1905 


J232,189.15 

i 8,511.00 

125.76 

12,540.90 

3,932.20 

3,502.60 

1,669.68 

9,871.44 

4,075.69 

3,664.54 

28,307.21 

4,998.80 

375.91 

6,476.27 

2,107.83 

14.85 

43.50 

9,557.46 

3,216.98 

1,816.32 

23,946.09 

842.65 

35,377.79 

3,371.96 

1,842.01 

3,998.69 

2,791.90 

2,955.78 

4,134.20 

10,258.40 

18,220.22 

10,297.56 

8,822.71 

520.25 


$21,581.80 
$ 1,904.44 


$18,217.90 
? 1,347.90 


$18,640.67 
$ 1,746.22 


$19,281.14 
$ 1,231.08 


$18,669.25 
$ 1,218.36 


$15,604.39 
$ 200.00 


$16,525.24 

$ 350.00 

94.91 

328.38 

71.60 

62.88 

80.00 

269.12 

416.04 

117.24 

1,565.46 

40.00 


$20,400.43 

110.00 
27.25 

200.00 
61.70 

122.52 

80.00 
253.61 
418.08 

98.60 
3,336.48 

95.00 


$17,190.87 
158.00 


$24,579.84 

95.00 

3.60 

708.30 

105.00 

588.00 

96.00 

510.00 

348.00 

196.06 

4,092.12 

90.32 


$20,661.94 
110.00 


$^1,035.68 
40.00 




Arizona 




Arkansas 


3,376.30 

55.65 

137.00 

343.68 
1,924.54 
165.70 
692.91 
638.73 

3.96 


1,860.00 

2,609.95 

40.00 

269.12 
1,180.00 

210.16 
1,079.97 

209.28 

833.12 
76.74 


1,717.24 
628.78 
115.00 

170.00 
1,750.14 
452.52 
495.92 
311.96 

836.00 
265.74 


1,334.57 

32.48 

160.00 

160.00 
1,208.68 
404.00 
332.00 
631.58 

611.00 
33.43 


1,316.29 

47.28 

100.00 

120.00 
772.31 
381.04 

218.20 
984.70 

1,190.00 


519.34 
65.54 


606.59 
128.22 
383.20 

100.00 
602.00 
415.68 
156.16 
3,623.65 

129.32 


435.46 

70.00 

934.00 

123.00 
502.00 
100.00 
114.44 
6,011.86 

180.8(3 


239.43 


California 


70.00 


Colorado 


860.00 


Florida 


48.88 

493.14 

270.92 ■ 

117.64 

1,696.60 

663.92 


80.00 


Georgia ... .... 


506.00 


Illinois 


493.55 


Indiana 


45.40 




5,205.00 


Kentucky 


325.00 


Idaho 




Iowa 


16.50 
826.46 








57.60 
82.60 




3,437.93 
40.00 


1,264.24 
30.00 


1,700.00 




200.00 


200.00 


276.90 


162.76 


103.12 


100.08 


42.00 


44.00 




14.85 




1919 
1904 
1905 
1812 
1910 

1907 
1905 
1913 
1910 
1903 

1908 
1905 
1914 
1904 
1902 

1908 
1907 
1915 


1906 
1907 
1916 
1914 

1908 
1916 

1907 

1911 
1906 
1917 
1906 
1905 

1910 
1908 

























43.50 




2,517.73 
733.23 


1,405.79 
633.05 


1,735.56 

307.70 


2,018.89 
356.52 


908.12 
210.00 


636.70 
235.08 


182.39 

70.00 

250.48 

1,437.12 

7.90 

4,426.56 

912.46 

170.39 

24.00 

272.56 

193.64 

69.40 

1,400.00 

1,276.54 

1,220.00 
846.24 
268.85 


50.00 

42.00 

1,325.84 

2,001.16 

9.40 

3,300.00 

1,815.50 

396.50 

39.41 

287.28 


35.00 

65.00 

89.76 

3,980.28 


22.00 

216.40 

104.66 

5,247.36 

36.87 

2.804.50 

209.08 

850.58 

69.16 

318.50 




32.96 

50.00 

46.68 

5,244.30 

3.50 

2,008.00 

213.80 

279.19 

71.84 

100.00 


113.32 




298.00 






Nebraska 








28.10 

116.59 
4,418.00 






6,007.77 




109.50 
1,335.40 


316.67 
800.00 


234.62 
3,004.28 






7.60 




5,310.76 


4,762.29 


2,808.00 
89.48 


40COO 


North Dakota 


131.64 


Ohio 






.60 
270.04 

323.99 
642.13 


33.75 
218.62 

120.00 
743.34 






111.00 




2,047.03 

36.05 
443.84 


648.84 

244.50 
303.91 


260.22 

270.72 
379.00 


174.08 

300.00 
249.92 


59.45 
288.30 


126.00 




230.00 






South Dakota 


1,190.70 
1,260.00 
1,042.88 

1,646.00 
809.12 
251.40 




1,705.62 
375.00 
952.72 

825.00 
533.16 


320.00 
100.00 
987.04 

800.00 
529.84 


848.48 




1,261.54 
1,764,92 

13.70 
1,232.99 


1,051.86 
2,154.67 

462.25 
280.12 


600.00 
1,250.69 

863.36 
718.18 


800.00 
2,437.76 

800.00 
773.84 


1,205.00 
2,244.00 

422.77 
868.36 


1,365.00 
2,005.00 

824.00 
883.32 


650.00 
884.44 

1,210.00 
890.44 


200.00 




1,219.56 




1,209.48 




467.10 





























*The Farmers' Social and Economic Union of Illinois was organized in 1900. This organization united with the Farmers' Union in 1907. 

The data shown in this table has been taken from the annual reports of the Secretary-Treasurer of the National Farmers' Union as given in the minutes of the National Conventions of 
the Farmers Educational and Co-operative Union of America. 



ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OP THE FARMERS' UNION 



13 



TABLE II. — Table Showing by Grand Divisions the Amount of Dues Received Anr 
nually by the National Secretary-Treasurer of the Farmers' Union. 



YEAR 


SOUTH 
ATLANTIC 


NORTH 
CtNTRAL 


SOUTH 
CENTRAL 


WESTERN 


PACIFIC 


TOTAL 


?60,170.34 


?19,318.19 


?70,192.94 


?66,431.28 


116,052.68 




1908 


? 4,061.16 
3,015.28 
6,429.91 
7,330.11 

7,004.84 
6,378.23 
6,189.32 
5,279.51 

4,620.00 
4,234.50 
3,433.00 
2,194.48 


$ 1,608.74 
1.923.18 
1,256.54 
1,124.27 

809.24 

623.64 

773.67 

1,012.78 

636.84 

' 5,048.97 

1,807.87 

2,692.45 


$13,702.38 
9,502.18 
8,355.75 
8,928.83 

8,493.75 
5,566.16 
3,701.39 
2,869.79 

2,464.80 
2,352.50 
1,948.10 
2,307.31 


$ 885.23 
565.95 
661.58 
936.27 

1,084.70 

1,696.50 

4,574.55 

10,053.00 

8,166.27 
11,983.61 
12,773.13 
13,050.49 


$ 1,324.69 
3 211 31 


1909 


1910 


1,936.69 
959.95 


1911 


1912 


1,176.36 


1913 


1,238.86 


1914 


1,285.31 


1915 


1,185.35 


1916 


1,306.96 


1917 


960.26 


1918 


699.84 


1919 


767.10 







(This table is based on the data shown in Table I.) 
The States included in each of the Grand Divisions are: 



SOUTH 


NORTH 


SOUTH 






ATLANTIC 


CENTRAL 


CENTRAL 


WESTERN 


PACIEIC 


Florida 


Illinois 


Alabama 


Colorado 


Arizona 


Georgia 


Indiana 


Arkansas 


Kansas 


California 


North Carolina 


Iowa 


Kentucky 


Montana 


Idaho 


South Carolina 


Minnesota 


Louisiana 


Nebraska 


Oregon 


Virginia 


Missouri 


Mississippi 


New Mexico 


Wasliiugton 




Ohio. 


Oklahoma 
Tennessee 


North Dakota 
South Dakota 








Texas 


Wyoming 





Table II, summarizing the records of Table 1 under five Grand Divisions, 
is the basis for the construction of the diagram. Table III arrives at a 
fair estimate of union membership, by States in 1910 and 1919, by calculat- 
ing the average amount of dues collected from each State in the preceding 
three-year period, including the years named. From this average a fair 
estimate of Union 'strength, according to States, is obtained by dividing 
the amount of dues collected by 16 cents, the amount of dues to be paid to 
the National Secretary-Treasurer per member per annum, according to the 
constitution that was in effect at that time. From the membership for 1910 
and 1919, as estimated in Table III, the proportion of Union members to 
the agricultural population of the different States, for those years, is shown 
in Table IV, which serves as a basis for constructing Charts II and III. 
Since the agricultural population according to the 1920 census is not yet 
available, it has been necessary to calculate the proportions for both 1910 
and 1919 on the census for 1910. However, in view of the marked changes 
that have been made in Union membership for those years, and the com- 
parative stability that characterizes the agricultural population, the figures 
of the 1920 census could show but slight changes in the proportions as 
herein arrived at. 



14 



THE FARMERS' UNION 



Dlagn^oiu I — Slionlng the Development of the FarmerB' ITnlon br 
Grand Divisions (1808-1010). 



ifflOOnt (O 

of Dues o 
Paid 






a* 
o 
at 



O rH 

1-4 r^ 



M 
rH 



s 


:^ 


a 






s 




o> 


0> 


o» 


o> 


o> 


o» 


o» 


iH 


•-i 


H 


H 


r-l 


i-l 


■H 



114000 




(Diagram based on Table IT.) 



ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE FARMERS' UNION 



15 



Formation of the National Union — Texarkana, Texas, 
December 5, 1905 

The perfecting of State organizations in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, 
Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana, gave sufficient foundation for the forma- 

TABIiE m. — Table Showing the Average Dues Paid, Therefore the Average Official 
TJniou Membership in the Various States for 1908-1910 and 1917-1919. 



STATB8 


Total Dues 
1908-910 


Total Dues 
1917-18-10 


Average 

Annual 

DneB 

190810 


Average 

Annual 

Dues 

1917 19 


Average 

Number 

Members 

1908-10 


Average 

Namber 

Membera 

1917-19 


TOTAL 


$58,440.57. 


{66,666.87 


$19,491.63 


$22,410.57 


121,826 


140,066 


Alabama 


$ 4,998.56 


t 245.01 

3.60 

1,383.19 

245.00 

2,382.00 

298.00 

1,517.00 

941.55 

356.90 

15,308.97 

596.12 


$ 1,666.19 


$ 81.67 

3.60* 

461.06 

81.67 

794.00 

99.33 

505.67 

313.85 

118.97 

5,102.99 

198.71 


10,414 


510 
23 


Arkansas 

California 

Colorado 

Florida 

Georgia 

Illinois 

Indiana 


6,953.54 

3,294.38 

292.00 

782.80 
4,854.68 

828.18 
2,268.80 
1,159.97 

1,673.08 

342.48 

16.50 

1,226.46 


2,317.88 

1,098.13 

97.33 

260.93 
1,618.23 
276.06 
756.27 
386.66 

557.69 
114.16 

16.50» 
408.82 


14,487 

6,863 

608 

1,631 
10,114 
1,725 
4,727 
2,417 

3,480 
714 
103 

2,555 


2,883 

610 

4,963 

621 

3,160 

1,962 

643 

31,893 


Kentucky 


1,142 




6,402.17 

114.00 

14.85 

43.50 

168.28 

564.40 

150.24 

16,499.43 

47.97 
5,212.50 

554.52 
1,240.77 

267.00 

648.50 


2,134.06 
38.00 
14.85« 

43.50* 
56.09 
188.13 
75.12* 
5,499.81 

15.99 

1,737.50 

184.84 

413.59 

89.00 

216.17 


13,338 


Louisiana 


238 
93 










272 


Mississippi 

Missouri 


5,659.08 
1,674.38 


1,886.36 
558.13 


11,790 
3,488 


350 

1,176 

470 










34,374 


New Mexico . . . . 
North Carolina . 


660.79 
5,139.68 


220.26 
1,713.23 


1,377 
10,708 


100 

10,859 

1,155 




.60 
2,965.91 

604.54 
1,389.88 


.60* 
988.64 

201.51 
463.29 


4 
6,179 

1,259 
2,896 


2,585 


Oklahoma 

Oregon 


556 
1,351 


South Carolina. . 


2,874.10 

675.00 

3,159.32 

2,834.48 
1,530.10 
251.40t 


958.03 

225.00 

1,053.11 

944.83 
510.03 
251.40' 


5,988 


South Dakota. . . 
Tennessee 


2,913.40 
5,170.28 

1,339.31 
2,231.29 


971.13 
1,723.43 

446.44 
743.76 


6,070 
10,772 

2,790 
4,649 


1,406 
6,582 


Virginia 

"Washington . . . ■ 


5,905 
3,188 
1,571 


"Wyoming 











(Membership is calculated by dividing the average amount of dues by 16 cents, 
the annual dues per member.) 

^States so indicated failed to pay dues for one or two of the three years recorded 
here in which case the average is not obtained by dividing by 3. 

tin order to include Wyoming the dues for 1915 have been used. 



16 



THE FARMERS' UNION 



TABLE IV.— Table Showing Agricultural Population, Farmers' Union MembersMp 

and the Number of Union Members per 10,000 of Agricultural Population 

in Those States in which the Union is Active. 



STATES 



Agrioultural Population 



1910 



Native 



Foreign 
Born 



Total 



Union 
Membership 



Unljn Mem- 
bers per 10000 
Ag. Pop. 



1910 



1919 



1910 



1919 



TOTAL 



3,827,678 



462,925 



4,290,603 



121,826 



140,066 



387 



312 



Alabama . 
Arizona 
Arkansas 
California 
Colorado . 



Florida 
Georgia 
Illinois 
Indiana 
Kansas 



Kentucky 
Idalio 
Iowa . . . . 
Louisiana 
Maine . . . 



Minnesota 
Mississippi 
Missouri 
Montana . . 
Nebraska 



New Mexico . . . . 
North Carolina . 
North Dakota . . 

Ohio 

Oklahoma 



Oregon 

South Carolina . 
South Dakota.. 

Tennessee 

Texas 



Virginia . . . 
Washington 
"Wyoming . . 



151,214 
5,218 

148,627 
58,926 
37,198 

34,080 
168,083 
217,053 
204,951 
150,346 

245,499 
24,694 

167,856 
63,236 
55,014 

74,710 

108,909 

259,111 

18,165 

93,509 

32,088 
187,657 

35,750 
252,645 
161,773 

35,819 

79,424 

49,360 

206,821 

318,988 

134,155 

37,770 

9,019 



1,244 

806 

2,458 

26,193 

8,398 

1,215 

3S5 

33,394 

9,729 
25.804 

1,956 
5,708 
48,987 
2,431 
4,973 

81,134 

736 

14,467 

6,953 

35,707 



152,458 


6,024 


151,085 


85,119 


45,596 


35,295 


168,468 


250,447 


214,680 


176,150 


247,455 


30,402 


216,843 


65,667 


59,987 


155,844 



10,414 



14,487 

6,863 

608 

1,631 
10,114 
1,725 
4,727 
2,417 

3,486 
714 
103 

2,555 



1,440 


412 


37,667 


17,450 


7,748 


9,056 


212 


25,476 


883 


28,864 


1,749 


17,297 


1,903 



109,645 

273,578 

25,018 

129,216 

33,528 
188,069 

73,617 
270,095 
169,521 

44,875 

79,636 

74,836 

207,704 

347,852 

135,904 
55,067 
10,922 



11,790 
3,488 



1,377 
10,708 



4 
6,179 



1,259 
2,896 



510 


689 


23 




2,883 


959 


510 


806 


4,963 


133 


621 


462 


3,160 


600 


1,962 


69 


743 


220 


31,893 


137 


1,242 


141 




235 


13,338 


5 


238 


388 


93 




272 




350 


1,075 


1,176 


128 


470 




34,374 





6,070 
10,772 

5,790 
4,649 



100 

10,859 

1,155 

2,585 

556 

1,351 



5,988 
1,406 
6,682 

5,905 
3,188 
1,571 



411 
569 



364 



281 
364 



292 
309 



205 
844 



33 

38 

191 

59 

1,08S 

176 

187 

78 

34 

1,806 

50 

614 
36 
16 

17 

32 

42 

18S 

2,650 

30 

677 

156 

95 

32 

312 



800 

67 

189 

435 

579 

1,444 



(Data taken from TJ. S. Census and from Table III.) 
**One-sixth. 

Negroes engaged in agriculture are not included in this table because ineligible 
for membership in the Farmers' Union. 

tion of a National Union in 1905. The guiding light of the Union was still 
the State of Texas and it was from that State that most of the organizers 
had been sent. It was fitting, therefore, that the first national convention 
of the Farmers ' Union should be held in Texas. During this three-day ses- 
sion of the first national convention, composed of delegates from the above- 
mentioned States, a constitution and by-laws were drawn up and adopted, 



ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE FARMERS' UNION 



17 



Chart II. - Showing the Proportion of Union Itooibexis 
to the Agrloultural Population of the 
Various States. 




Chart III. - Showing the Proportion of Onion Members 
to the Agricultural Population of the 
Varioiis States. 

1919. 



iover 5O0 



250-500 




ITumToer of MemterS 
•per 10,000 
Lgrlcultural Popiilation 



:^ 



100-250 



25-100 



•.* Under 25 



The Numtoer of Members per 19,000 
Agricultural Population is Sbown 
for Bach State. These Figures are 
Calculated in Tables III & IV. 

For an explanation of tiie figures for Wyomlaag 

see Table III, last footnote. 



18 THE FARMERS' UNION 



and plans were laid for extending the work of the Union into every agri- 
cultural, State of the United States. 

Union development after the formation of the National Union can best 
be seen in the actions taken at the national conventions which are held an- 
nually. The delegates to these conventions, one from every State union, 
and an additional one for every additional 5,000 members or major frac- 
tion thereof, "receive actual expenses for attendance not to exceed $2.00^ 
per day, and transportation, to be paid by the National Union. ' ' 

Brief summaries of the sentiments and actions of these conventions are 
presented on the following pages, after which, a more detailed account of 
each convention is given.^ 

National Conventions op the Faemeks' Union Bbieplt Summarized 

1906 : Mr. C. S. Barrett was elected president and an attempt was made 
to fix a minimum price for cotton. 

1907 : Encouraging progress was reported and the need for more co- 
operative enterprises stressed. 

1908 : That banks had not foreclosed on cotton was attributed to the 
influence of organized farmers. Fraternal greetings were received from 
Mr. Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor. 

1909 : The selection of Mr. Barrett as a member of President Roosevelt's 
Commission on Country Life was attributed to the publicity created by 
Farmers' Union mass meetings and councils. Trading arrangements were 
perfected for the direct marketing of all cotton of Union members. A pen- 
sion of $1,000 was enthusiastically provided for the widow of Newt Gresham. 

1910: Better leaders and a more loyal membership, not better plans, 
were presented as the needs of the Union. The Board of Directors appeared 
in the role of peace makers and also reported serious troubles that had 
threatened to disrupt the work in Texas. 

1911 : That the novelty of the movement had begun to wear off in some 
sections, was admitted. Plans for co-operative enterprises were becoming 
more advanced and systematic, and definiteness was given to local meetings 
by the appointment of a committee whose duty was to prepare suitable 
topics for discussion. 

1912 and 1913 : Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Salina, Kansas, respeetivelyj 
were the meeting places for these conventions, but the minutes are not 
available. 

1914: Considerable activity to secure government relief from the un- 
precedented war conditions was reported; the need for an increased co- 
operative activity, in order that old members might be retained, was 
stressed; a move to establish a national headquarters, especially as a 'home 
for the newly-established Union paper, "The National Field;" and the 
minimum price of wheat was fixed at $1.00. 
^^15^ spirit of desperation prevailed because of failure to secure a 

B, By-TawlTrdc^ll vf. '"'° «™auaUy Increased until In 1919 It was fixed at ?5. See Appendix 
^^^^> These summaries have been drawn np from the printed minutes of the different conven- 



ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OP THE FARMERS' UNION 19 



suitable Eural Credits Bill; and co-operation with the Labor unions to 
secure common ends and an attempt to federate all farmers' organizations 
were advocated as a constructive legislative program. A slight tendency 
towards a national business system was indicated in the report of the Na- 
tional Business Agent, whose office had been created the previous year 

1916 : The sentiments of the previous year were carried out by wiring 
fraternal greetings to the Grange and the American Federation of Labor 
Gratification was expressed over the success of co-operative enterprises, of 
which, co-operative buying was considered more favorably. 

1917: "Organize" seems to have been the watchword; such had been 
the efforts of the Union officials in helping perfect the National Board of 
Farm Organizations. A constitutional amendment eliminated the secret- 
order ritual; federation of co-operative units was proposed ;' and dissatis- 
faction was expressed at anything less than $2.50 per bushel for wheat. 

1918 : On account of the influenza epidemic this convention was not held 
until April 1919. Mr. Barrett reported his experiences at the Paris Peace 
Conference ; and it was the opinion of the convention that a national busi- 
ness unit should be established, and that the national dues be increased from 
16 cents to 25 cents per annum. 

1919 : Co-operative business and the need of funds were stressed before 
this convention. An appropriation was made for the National Board of 
Farm Organizations; and the new constitution which was drawn up pro- 
vided for 25 cent dues. For the first time, some opposition was manifested 
to a continued re-election of Mr. Barrett as president of the organization. 

More detailed summaries of these conventions, together with some of the 
mass meetings that have been held by the Farmers' Union, are given on 
the following pages : 

GENEEAL SUMMARY OF MASS MEETINGS AND NATIONAL 

CONVENTIONS 

SECOND ANNUAL CONVENTION, TEXARKANA, TEXAS, 
SEPTEMBER, 1906 

Mr. C. S. Barrett, of Georgia, was made president at this convention, to which 
office he has been continuously re-elected. A true friend of the farmer, who has 
even sacrificed for the success of his organization, Mr. Barrett has been, at times, 
the life of the Farmers' Union, and it is to him that a large measure of credit is 
due for the position which the Union now holds as one of the four most important 
farmers' organizations in the United States. 

Through concerted agreement and action, the members of the Farmers' Union, 
at this convention, decided that a minimum price could be placed on cotton. The 
minimum of 11 cents per pound which they agreed upon, probably had little effect 
on the market. At other times the Union has secretly and openly attempted to 
control the price by agreement on a minimum, below which not a pound would be 
sold; or. as in 1907, by decreasing production. At that time strenuous efforts were 
made to have 10 per cent, of the cotton crop plowed up. Such attempts, however, 
cannot be taken seriously so long as they rest solely on voluntary obedience, for 
individuals are too prone to let the other fellow make the sacrifice. 



20 THE FARMERS' UNION 



THIRD ANNUAL CONVENTION, LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS, 

SEPTEMBER, 1907 

The optimistic spirit of this convention is reflected in the following report of 
the Board of Directors: — 

"To the Farmers' Educational and Co-operative Union of America in National Con- 
vention Assembled: 

Brethren — . Many of you are familiar with the conditions that ex- 

isted [twelve months ago]. The Union had a debt of $3,000 for the previous year's 
expenses and no source of income . . until the ratification of the constitu- 

tion ninety days later. Much confusion and misunderstanding prevailed. 

This was caused [principally] by . . intense earnestness 

and watchfulness on the part of some of the brethren, of the rights of local mem- 
bers, coupled with misunderstandings as to the motives which actuated 
others. This for a time threatened to be more serious, perhaps, than many of you 
lealized. 

Proud are we today that not a cloud is visible anywhere upon the 
Union sky. . . Broader views are held and more systematic efforts are 

[cow] put forth than have at times been noticeable within our ranks. 

. First three months [of this year] no funds, constitution being rati- 
fied; second three months not enough funds to pay last year's debts and meet 
current expenses; third three months, just getting to Where our Secretary could 
draw a full breath and look forward to the present meeting only three months 
away. Our President has, at our solicitation. . . spent a large 

portion of his time in field work. We feel justified in saying that the 

Farmers' Union is in better condition today than at any time since its organiza- 
tion. 

We are, yours for humanity, especially the American farmer. 

W. A. MORRIS, Chairman.'" 

The committee on co-operative manufacturing urged more progressive work 
in building cotton gins, mills, warehouses, and canning factories. "In the matter 
of factories we can do no better at this time," they reported, "than to highly recom- 
mend the plan of the co-operative woolen mills of Albuquerque, New Mexico, as 
the basis of true co-operation.'" 

"Fifteen cents per pound, basis middling, and one-fourth cent additional per 
pound each month to cover storage, insurance, etc.," was recommended by the 
committee on the minimum price of cotton. 

This convention, composed of 67 delegates from 18 States, proclaimed as the 
founder of the Farmers' Union, Newt Gresham, who had died the previous year, 
and out of appreciation for his family it was voted that the royalty to be derived 
from the sale of the copyrighted official badge, a button with Gresham's picture on 
it, should be given to them. 

FOURTH ANNUAL CONVENTION, PORT WORTH, TEXAS, 
SEPTEMBER 1-3, 1908 

Three of these first four national conventions were held in Texas At this 
convention the national Secretary-Treasurer called attention to the advance of 
unionism among the farmers of "the great Northwest or Inland Empire " for which 
growth, a large part of the credit was due "our body of organizers who have 
labored so faithfully in spreading the cause of unionism." 

The Bo ard of Directors called attention to the fact that the bankers of the 

'Quotedfrom "ffistorj/ etc., . . . of the Farmers' Union" Barrett 
' See Chapter II. for a full discussion of co-operative activities 



ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OP THE FARMERS' UNION 21 

South had disregarded a circular letter which "the Cotton Brolcer, Price, of New 
York,"' had sent them, suggesting that they foreclose on cotton. This was at- 
tributed to the power of the organized farmers, who through Mr. Barrett, had 
warned the banlts that withdrawal of all deposits would surely follow such action. 
The activities of this convention can be estimated from the number and 
variety of committees appointed. The chief feature of each of the conventions that 
has been held by the Farmers' Union has been the reports and resolutions that 
have come from these, or similar committees. From the 68 delegates from 20 
States, who composed this convention, the following committees were appointed: 

Constitution and By-laws. Good of the Order. 

Gin' Compression. Legislation. 

Marketing Tobacco. Exchanges and Bucket Shops. 

Minimum Price for Short Staple Cot- Cotton Schools. \ 

ton. Education. 

Minimum Price for Long Staple Cot- Proas Committee. 

ton. Co-operation. 

Marketing Cotton. Warehouses. 

Grain Elevators. Co-operative Fire Insurance. 

Truck and Fruit Growing. Wrapping Cotton. 

Marketing Broomcorn. Marketing and Minimum Price for 

Resolutions. Grain. 

Fraternal greetings from the great body of organized labor were extended to 
the convention by Mr. Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of 
Labor. The acceptance of an invitation to attend a barbecue under the auspices 
of the local chapter of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, shows an added 
spirit of fraternalism that was being cultivated at the time. 

JOINT MEETING OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE FARMERS' UNION AND 

VARIOUS BUSINESS INTERESTS OF THE COTTON PRODUCING 

STATES, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, 

NOVEMBER 11 and 12, 1908 

Delegates from Alabama. Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Texas gathered here for a general 
discussion of the necessity of each farmer holding his cotton for better prices and 
the practicing of diversified farming. Prominent business men addressed the 
assemblage and pointed out the fact that they, as well as the farmer, were mter- 
eeTin keeping up the price of the farmer's products. Among those who ad- 
drlssei the meeing were, Mr. Martin Behman, Mayor of New Orleans; Honorable 
fySanderT Governor of Louisiana;- John W. Parker, planter; Honorable C. T. 
LIsonGene^ai counsel for the Farmers' Union; Mr. Charles Janv^r, V.ce-Presx- 
iento?the canal Louisiana Bank; Mr. P. H. Sanders, ^^^^f^'lT^Z^T^l 

any vyrongs that might exist. 

*„ -Tho^rfnro H Price editor of "Commerce and Finance." 

1 Probably the reference was to Theodore H. Mice, eui.. 



22 THE FARMERS' UNION 



MASS MEETING OP THE GRAIN AND UVB STOCK DEALERS OF THE 

FARMERS' UNION, SPRINGFIELD MISSOURI, 

MAY 12 and 13, 1909 

In keeping with the growing power of fne Farmers' Union In other than the 
cotton States, President Barrett called this special meeting for the consideration 
of Buch special problems as concerned the grain and live stock dealers of this 
■ectlon. Minutes of this meeting show that, besides approving plans for co- 
operative grain warehouses, elevators, etc., extensive resolutions were adopted 
providing for the organization of co-operative meat-packing-house-systeims, to be 
owned and controlled jointly by producers and consumers. 

The increasing predominance of the western States in Union affairs and a 
corresponding decrease in the activity of the southern cotton-growing States has 
characterized the past few years of Farmers' Union history. This change has 
been referred to in the preceding pages and is shown in Diagram I, and Charts I 
and II. 

FIFTH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE FARMERS' UNION, BIRMINGHAM, 
ALABAMA, SEPTEMBER 7-10, 1909 

The key note of this convention, which assembled as the guest of the Birming- 
ham Trades Union, seems to have been one of optimism. Such was the report of 
the President and of the Board of Directors, who emphasized the point that the 
Union had risen above some of the petty jealousies that characterized the first 
years of its development. Besides the Mass Meetings that had been held during 
the year, a council of State presidents and the national officials had been held at 
Washington, D. C, and again at Atlanta, Georgia. "Favorable accomplishments" 
were the results of these meetings, and especially was the placing of Mr. Barrett 
on President Roosevelt's "Country Life Commission," attributed to the publicity 
that had been created by Union activities. 

That the marketing problem of the farmer la largely one of his own making, 
was shown by a personal report from J. D. Newton, who had been appointed by 
the National Executive Committee at Springfield, Missouri, following the Mass 
Meeting that was held there, to visit tho cotton markets of New England and 
establish trading connections with them. He reported that such arrangements 
were readily made for the direct marketing of all the cotton of Union members 
and that later communications from the factories had assured him that there was 
an open market for the entire crop as soon as it was ready to move. 

"In token of the love and esteem in which his brothers and fellow workers 
hold him," a silver loving cup was presented to President Barrett at the opening 
of the convention, by the delegates from the State Union of Georgia; and toward 
the close of the convention, "not to be outdone by the Georgia Union," the brethren 
from Alabama presented a silver set to Mrs. Barrett. 

The convention adopted a new constitution, which was referred to the mem- 
bership for adoption at a later date. 

The transient enthusiasm of the farmers is proverbial. President Barrett 
better than any other man probably, can bear testimony to this fact In his ad' 
dress for the following year he said: "It would be impossible for me to say how 
n>any splendid business enterprises I have seen born in farmers' meetings amid 
scenes of wonderful enthusiasm. Everybody promised support, everybody called 
the other fellow "brother." Everybody had his arm around the other feUow's 
neck, slngmg hallelujah hymns and saying how sweet it was to dwell tORether in 
unity. And then the whole push would go home and about one man in ten wouS 
remember to support the enterprise with his patronage, money, time, brains and 
fldehty. And agam he said: "I have seen any number of State business agencTes 



ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE FARMERS' UNION 23 



endorsed by the State conventions with the biggest sort of hallelujah cry you ever 
heard. And 1 have seen those same business agencies fall to pieces because the 
members forgot that patronizing them after the enthusiasm rolled off, was as im- 
portant as while the enthusiasm was on." 

This kind of enthusiasm is typically illustrated in the attitude of the Union 
toward Mrs. Newt Gresham, widow of the founder of the order. That the farmer 
is a generous promiser is seen in the enthusiasm with which he voted to give to 
Mrs. Gresham a pension of $1,000, to be paid to her so long as she remained the 
widow of Newt Gresham. This, together with a free-will offering of $100, followed 
immediately after she was presented to this convention. The following year, how- 
ever, the Board of Directors was instructed to "readjust the provision in such a 
way as to safeguard her from need." A report of the Directors in 1911 showed 
an award of $30 per month in order that she might continue the education of her 
children, as she had planned anticipating the continued receipt of the pension. 
That convention which met in 1911 provided for a continuation of the "present 
handling of the matter." 

MASS MEETING HELD IN SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI, MAY 2-7, 1910 

This meeting seems to have been primarily one in which matters pertaining 
to organization and extension were discussed. For furthering the cause of union- 
ism the National Board of Directors was authorized to keep on hand a supply of 
literature which could be sent to State Organizers as demanded. This literature 
was to give a "clear and definite idea of what the Farmers' Union is, what it stands 
for, and what it has already accomplished." Probably the result of this meeting, 
and especially of the above recommendation, was the publication in June, 1913, 
by the National Secretary-Treasurer, of the pamphlet, "The Farmers' Educational 
and Co-operative Union of America, What it is and What it is doing." 

A special report from the "Committee on Closer Relations with Organized 
Labor" pointed out the common ground upon which the two organizations stood, 
and urged reciprocal dealings between them. Attention was called to the label of 
the Labor Union and every farmer was urged to insist on Union made goods. 
Some effort has been made to get a uniform use of a Farmers' Union label also, 
but nothing, practically, has come of it. 

The "Committee on Statistics" gave a ten-page account of co-operative enter- 
prises that were being conducted in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, 
Georgia, Illinois, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Mis- 
souri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wash- 
ington. 

SIXTH ANNUAL CONVENTION, CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, 
SEPTEMBER 6-9, 1910 

One of Mr. Barrett's most extensive addresses was delivered at this conven- 
tion He called to account those members who continually clamoured for "better 
plans" for conducting Union business. He hit at the heart of the problem In 
attributing partial and complete failures to the lack of real leaders who were 
willing to sacrifice themselves, and especially to the lack of a loyal support of 
those leaders on the part of the membership. He pointed out that the farmer 
was too prone to choose all officers on the merit of "likability," and to practice 
the newly acquired knowledge of crop rotation in "office rotation." The short- 
lived enthusiasm of the farmer was condemned; and, notwithstanding the fact 
that through the u'se of the ballot the farmer can get what he wants at any time, 
Mr Barrett pointed out very heatedly, that he never gets anything because he 
continually makes of himself "a fool about his rights and privileges." This individ- 



24 THE FARMERS' UNION 



ualism of the farmer was then contrasted with the business man's ability to co- 
operate and willingness to concede. 

The National Secretary-Treasurer reported a general failure of State secre- 
taries to live up to Section 19, Article V, of the constitution. This provided that 
a certified report of all money collected by the State secretaries be made quarterly 
and that thirty days prior to the annual convention, complete lists of all ware- 
houses and elevators built or acquired during the year, together with their cost, 
be submitted to the National Secretary. In the words of the National Secretary: 
"Reports covering the clause of this section relative to warehouses and elevator 
buildings are so meager that it is hardly worth while to incorporate them into 
my report." 

The direct open-handed way in which problems were tackled by the Board of 
Directors deserves much commendation. A happy compromise had been effected 
between the State Union of Mississippi and some Union members of California 
relative to the placing of the loss arising from a shipment of fruit which was un- 
marketable because of too long storage. It was then revealed to the Union that 
a more serious trouble than this had threatened the movement in the State of 
Texas. Officials of the Texas Union were reported as claiming that the "charter 
[of the Union] was deficient, in that the organization was merely a co-partner- 
ship agreement," thus making the membership as individuals responsible for 
money losses on business transactions.' The Directors stated, however, that sub- 
sequent investigations proved that the "charter under which we operate is in the 
strictest sense a legal and satisfactory drawn document." At the time of the 
disaffection, a signed agreement between the Texas officials and those of the 
national organization, permitted the Texas Union to use its own charter, provided 
it make no attempts to propagate the doctrine. Nevertheless the doctrine spread 
to Oklahoma and the Directors reported a trip to that State to settle some 
troubles. The end of another undesirable conflict was reported as having been 
brought about by paying $500 as costs to W. S. Miller, of Texas, for effecting a 
compromise in a suit which certain parties in that State had drawn against Miller, 
Campbell, Russell, and President Barrett. 

A proposed union of the American Society of Equity and the Farmers' Union 
was discussed at this convention. The Board of Directors reported that a letter 
had been sent to the Directors of the Equity in which they said, "no part of the 
convention appealed more strongly than the efforts of the joint committee to 
arrange details of uniting your society with our own." A report of the Committee 
on Consolidation expressed this same sentiment of "bringing these brother farmers 
into our great order." 

The present National Secretary-Treasurer of the Union, Mr. A. C. Davis, of 
Arkansas, was elected at. this convention. He was already familiar with the details 
of the work, having served as assistant to Secretary R. H. McCuUoch, who was 
absent on account of illness; and has continued to transact the duties of his office 
in an efficient business-like way. 

SEVENTH ANNUAL CONVENTION. SHAWNEE, OKLAHOMA, 

SEPTEMBER 5-7, 1911 

In his address to this convention. President Barrett again stressed the need 
for sacrificing leaders rather than for more remedies. "These leaders," he said 
"must be chosen, chiefly, to secure a scientific, profitable marketing of the prod- 
ucts of the farms. We all believe in county fairs, in good roads, in swamp drain- 
age, m ever y issue that pertains to the welfare of the country. But the member 

these minutei. were Drohablv the p»i,ao r,f ou <.i,„ 4.'.„7,ti' ^^" "" pages Jts, oo, and 57 of 



these minutei, were probably the cause of all the trouble. 



ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OP THE FARMERS' UNION 25 

of this organization is paying his money for men who can develop the force and 
skill to place his products on the market at an equitable price." He called on the 
veterans of the organization to put forth renewed activity. "We know that the 
Farmers' Union is the last call for the American farmer," he said, '"that if it 
disappoints him, a half century, perhaps a century, will elapse before another 
farmers' organization can get on its feet in this country. 

The Board of Directors admitted that a loss of membership was being ex- 
perienced in some States where the novelty of the movement had worn off. To 
halt this reaction in Louisiana an expenditure of $250 had been authorized for 
lecture work in that State. A spirit of optimism, however, characterized their 
report of a conference of State and national officials which had been held in Little 
Rock in May. "For the first time in our history," they reported, "a roll call vote 
showed that the States were unanimous for a national system of marketing." 

The inauguration of seventeen co-operative business enterprises in six States, 
valued at $45,168.50, was the report of the Secretary-Treasurer. This securing 
of definite reports on co-operative activity, together with a resolution that author- 
ized the Secretary to prepare an accounting system for all such enterprises and for 
the various Union activities, marks an advance for the Farmers' Union. 

A ten-page report of the Committee on Crop Marketing gives excellent gen- 
eralizations concerning the marketing of the chief farm products, and also includes 
a summary of the co-operative work of other countries. 

The American Federation of Labor, as it had done at all other conventions, 
had its duly authorized representative present, in order that no opportunity might 
be lost for keeping itself before the public. 

Two advanced steps were taken to stimulate more interest in Union meetings. 
A committee was appointed to provide topics for discussion at all local meetings, 
as a rule they have been well chosen, and the plan has worked so well that it is 
still continued; and in order to secure a more satisfactory ritual a prize of $100 
was offered for the one that was most acceptable, the winning ritual to be chosen 
at the next annual convention. 

EIGHTH AND NINTH ANNUAL CONVENTIONS, 1912 and 1913 

These conventions were held at Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Salina, Kansas, 
respectively The minutes for them, however, are not available; according to a 
communication dated April 27, 1920, from Mr. A. C. Davis, National Secretary- 
Treasurer of the Farmers' Union, "they have absolutely vanished." 

TENTH ANNUAL CONVENTION, FORT WORTH, TEXAS, 

SEPTEMBER 1-3, 1914 

The interest of this convention centered about the possible effects of the 
European war on the American farmer. Mr. Barrett in his openmg f dress called 
for government relief, especially for cotton and tobacco farmers whose products 
could find no market because of decreased shipping facilities. Resolutions were 
Td^pted opposing war and calling for an international ^^^^^^^^'l:^Zt:T:TTe 
of all international disputes. Recognition was taken of the destruction of tne 
European market and it was agreed that the disaster would have to be borne by 
European marKei, auu a relieve those farmers who were 

Td :!d^T"ltr::V^^m product, tieNlnal Secretary was authorized to 
rate Tfunl of $ 000 f^r financing the activities of a committee on such prod- 
11 in keeping with this provision, Mr. Barrett appointed a committee of forty, 

:^^^ov6 IB applied to those farm products which must he sold, regardless of price. In 

order That Totes, morTgages, or accounts may he met. 



26 THE FARMERS' UNION 



representing every section of the United States, to meet in consultation at Wash- 
ington, D. C, on September 21, following tlie adjournment of this convention. , 

Reports of the special legislative committee gave interesting accounts of 
conferences held with Secretary Houston, President Wilson, and Secretary McAdoo, 
on September IS, 1913. General dissatisfaction was expressed over Secretary 
Houston's insistence that we should "make haste slowly;" on the other hand the 
committee seems to have been favorably impressed with the interest that Secretary 
McAdoo aud President Wilson manifested In the affairs of the farmer. However, 
it seems that Mr. J. H. Patten, General Counsel for the National Farmers' Union 
at that time, had charged the Federal administration with general insincerity. 
Such slurring statements, on no firmer basis than that of "they say so," were 
thoroughly disapproved of by this committee, even if it was their own General 
Counsel who had made them. 

Cognizance was taken of the fact that the Union had no particular head- 
quarters, and it was recommended that the National Board of Directors establish 
the same at Kansas City, Missouri, as soon as practicable. This would be the 
seat of the national officials and of the' newly-established national Union paper, 
"The National Field." The previous convention had authorized the establishing 
of this national paper, whose purpose was to be "not so much to tell the farmers 
how to farm as it was to show them the way by which they may conserve the 
profits of their labor;" with no further provisions for the publishing of the paper, 
the burden of the work fell upon the already overworked Secretary-Treasurer and 
President of the Union. 

"The "Committee on the Good of the Order" stressed the need of an Increased 
membership; which need, they attributed to the inability to hold those who had 
once joined the Union. The committee proposed for holding this membership, an 
"Increased aptlvity in co-operative buying and selling, and the development of 
more county, wholesale, and State associations" for making the financial returns to 
the membership, still larger. The need of more sociability and of a community 
feeling was also emphasized by the committee; and the desirability of establishing 
State publications, which, together with other Union literature, should be placed 
in non-Union homes, was stressed. 

The Palmer-Owen Bill against child labor was endorsed, and the President 
and Congress were again urged to pass an Immigration bill known as Bill No. 3175, 
which had been vetoed by President Taft on February 3, 1913. 

A resolution to, compel all farmers to use standard bolts, nuts, and screws, 
might have been as effective as the resolution which was adopted which would 
compel all manufacturers of farm implements to adopt such standards. 

A weakening of the original secret-order Idea was evidenced In the authority 
that was granted to Nebraska and Kentucky to devise a ritual to suit their own 
needs. The final constitutional elimination of the ritual was effected In 1917. 

In the light of later dissatisfaction that the farmer, and especially the Farmers' 
Union, has expressed concerning the fixing of the price of wheat at anything less 
than 12.50 per bushel, the report of the "Committee on the Minimum Price for 
Grain," gives an interesting insight into that dissatisfaction. The prices as fixed 
by this committee in 1914, and which they admitted might seem unreasonably 
high to some, were:^- 

Wheat jl 00 

Corn Yg 

OatB 50 

Barley gQ 

It would seem that an Increase of over one hundred per cent, in the prices 
receiTBd for these products, does not bear out the ever-present contention of 



ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OP THE FARMERS' UNION 27 



mlTtlf ir'"''''''*?^ ^^^'°'' '^" '^''''' ^'^^ ^'^^ ^^«^^^« i'^^'^^^e for all com- 
modities in general has been only 84 per cent.' 

B1.EVBNTH ANNUAL CONVENTION, LINCOLN. NEBRASKA, 
SEPTEMBER 7-9, 1915 

Mr. Barrett's attempt to explain to this convention the decreased dues coming 
from southern States on the basis of the "deplorable cotton situation" cannot be 
accepted as an explanation of a continuation of this decrease for the last few 
years, m which the cotton situation has been anything but deplorable. This de- 
cline has been shown in Table I, Diagram I, and Charts II and III 

Congressional apathy toward measures proposed by Mr. Barrett and other 
representatives of the farmers, especially their efforts to secure a suitable Rural 
Credits bill, gave rise to a spirit of desperation on the part of these men Des- 
pairing of outside help, Mr. Barrett urged the membership to prepare to rise in the 
strength of their own sufficiency and bring about those legislative and marketing 
changes that they had found it impossible to accomplish through the regularly 
established channels. This same spirit is manifested in the following report of 
the Board of Directors: "From bitter experience," they reported, "the American 
farmer [has learned that he] need not hope for relief . . except as he may 
be able to work out a solution to his own great problem." In order to work out 
this solution, Mr. Barrett appointed a committee on May 13th, 1915, whose duty 
it was "to start a movement that would bring the several farmers' organizations 
closer together on questions of vital importance to the American farmer." This 
committee reported to the convention that the proposal had been favorably con- 
sidered by other farmers' organizations ; the final result of the proposal has been 
the formation of the National Board of Farm Organizations with offices at Wash- 
ington, D. C. As a further attempt to work out its own problems the Farmers 
Union turned to the labor organizations for support, as is indicated in a resolution 
passed by this convention, instructing the "national officials to co-operate with the 
Federation of Labor in national legislation for the benefit of labor. That we here- 
by extent our appreciation of the Federation of Labor and the help it has given 
us in the past." 

An increasing membership and a growth in co-operative enterprises gave some 
foundation to the feeling of independence which characterized this convention. 
In order to further the co-operative program the officers of the National Union 
were instructed to prepare blank forms for the co-operative enterprises, and it was 
also considered advisable that these officials investigate the various companies 
and use all means to induce them to organize on a strictly co-operative basis. 

The National Business Agent, whose office had been created by the previous 
convention in response to urgent calls for such an office, reported an economical 
and satisfactory exchange of a number of commodities among the membership. 
The cost of this service had been practically negligible, only $50 having been 
spent during the entire year — "Stenographer's work $20; postage $25; printing $5. 
The columns of the Union paper, "The National Field" had been used for this 
service until financial conditions demanded that the free use of those columns be 
no longer permitted. The business agent urged that an appropriation be made 
for financing the page, in view of the fact that a regularly established business 
unit and National Business Agent's office was considered, "unwise, not feasible, 
and very expensive." 

Resolutions were passed opposing our financing of the European War, especial- 
ly by the aid of the Federal Reserve System for that purpose. Besides being eager 



» According to the Index of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. See "Monthlv Labor Beviem," 
October, 1919, page 78. 



28 THE FARMERS' UNION 



to keep the United States out of the war, the Convention expressed a hope tor 
a speedy close of the war in Europe. In order to guard against private interests 
urging war upon us the desirability of exclusive government ownership of muni- 
tions plants, was pointed out. 

The constitutional time of meeting was changed from September to the 
third Tuesday in November of each year at such place as designated by the Board 
of Directors." 

TWELFTH ANNUAL CONVENTION, PALATKA, FLORIDA 
NOVEMBER 21-24, 1916 

At the opening of this convention, congratulations and fraternal greetings were 
wired to the National Grange, assembled at Washington, D. C, and the American 
Federation of Labor in Convention at Baltimore, Maryland. 

President Barrett's address laid special emphasis on the co-operative activities 
of the past year, of which he said, "there have not been half a dozen failures during 
the past fifteen months." He also expressed an opinion that "our co-operative 
organization ... is going to mean more for our advancement and betterment 
than anything else we have done so far." The report of the Board of Directors also 
emphasized this development along co-operative lines, and they attributed "the 
wonderful growth in membership . during the year . to the develop- 

ment of co-operative busmess societies." However, the conclusion of the report 
of the committee on co-operation, was, that for organized farmers, "co-operative 
merchandising is very much more expensive than co-operative buying." This was 
also the experience of the National Business Agent who had met with little interest 
In his efforts to organize a co-operative tobacco marketing system, and had been 
able to interest only a part of the. Virginia peanut growers, "who produce more 
than one-fourth of the peanut crop of the United States." 

Owing to the fact that the "price of cotton was higher than any minimum 
ever fixed," the committee on cotton declined to fix any minimum price. 

Features of the convention were, addresses by Governor Trammel and Senator 
Fletcher, both of Florida, and the arrival of 300 delegates for Georgia headed by the 
Agricultural Commissioner of that State. 

Advance steps were taken for the formation of the National Board of Farm 
Organizations. 



THIRTEENTH ANNUAL CONVENTION, JONESBORO, ARKANSAS. 
NOVEMBER 20-23, 1917 

Governor Brough addressed this opening session of the "war convention" of 
the Farmers' Union. Any lack of progress during the past year was attributed to 
the fact that all interests were centered elsewhere. However, Union officials were 
looking ahead to the coming of peace, and the watchword of the convention seems 
to have been "organize," not only for present benefits, but especially for mustering 
strength to take a prominent part in the days or reconstruction that were to come. 
The time of the national officials and the Board of Directors had been occupied 
largely in perfecting the. National Board of Farm Organizations. As a result of 
their labor, together with that of leaders of other farmers' organizations, it was 
reported that a federation of a great number of farmers' organizations had been 
effected, and that permanent headquarters had been established in Washington, 
D. C. 

One of the most important questions before the convention was the constitu- 
tional amendment to omit the ritual. It was argued that the proposal was In 
keeping with the purpose of making the Union an open, free, and democratic 



ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE FARMERS' UNION 29 



organization; though, probably, the strongest objections to the use of the ritual 
■were made on a basis ol religious scruples which forbade its use. The member- 
ship had been informed of the proposed elimination; and the final vote, the re- 
sult of mature thought, instructed the National Secretary-Treasurer, by a vote 
of 24-15, to eliminate all references to the ritual. In its place, however, a business 
manual was drafted and adopted. 

The convention went on record as favoring the establishment of a chair 
of markets and rural economics in agricultural schools, the development of 
better and more advanced schools, and the use of all schools as community centers. 
Co-operation with the agricultural extension work, and marketing bureaus was 
recommended. That these bureaus, however, be composed of actual farmers, was 
the recommendation of this convention; and unalterable opposition was expressed 
toward all efforts, governmental or otherwise, to organize agriculture that originate 
outside of the ranks of actual farmers of America. 

A recommendation for advanced steps in marketing directed the National 
Business Agent to undertake the federation of all co-operative units of the States. 
The desire was also expressed for perfected marketing plans, for the furtherance 
of which, it was urged that an efficient business agent be chosen by each local, 
county, and state organization. 

That the government had discriminated against the farmer by fixing the price 
of wheat at less than $2.50 per bushel, was the opinion of this assembly. This 
dissatisfaction is discussed more fully in the summary of the tenth annual conven- 
tion. The Union also upheld the idea that the price per bushel should be advanced 
two cents per month, which price was paid to the elevators and terminals; thus 
would be effected a gradual marketing of the crop, the elevators would not be 
congested, and the farmer would be compensated for storage, on the same basis 
ao the elevator. 



FOURTEENTH ANNUAL CONVENTION, DENVER, COLORADO, 
POSTPONED MEETING, APRIL 15-17, 1919 

On account of the influenza epidemic of 1918, the Board of Directors of the 
Farmers' Union exercised its authority and set aside the constitutional provision 
for holding the annual convention on the third Tuesday of November. 

Mr. Barrett reported his experiences as representative of the National Board 
of Farm Organizations, and of the Farmers' Union, to the Peace Conference in 
Paris. His chief duty at that conference was the presentation to that body of a 
copy of the following resolutions which had been drawn up by the National Board 
of Farm Organizations: 

RESOLUTIONS OF THE NATIONAL BOARD OF FARM ORGANIZATIONS 
PRESENTED TO THE PEACE CONFERENCE, AT PARIS 

A. Extension and improvement of the International Institute at Rome. 

B. Adoption so far as practicable, of uniform systems of crop estimating and 

reporting and reports on manufacturing through the world. 

C. Inclusion in the League of Nations of a special body having the Inter- 

national interests of agriculture directly in charge. 

D. Adoption as a part of the Constitution of the League of Nations of the 

principle of conservation of natural resources throughout the world, and 
especially in all lands held under the Jurisdiction of the League, whether 
such resources be found on the farm or elsewhere. 

E. Provision for co-operative investigation of the relation of weather to crops 

in all parts of the world. 



30 THE FARMERS' UNION 



F. Endorsement of a set of International agricultural principles, including : 

1. Equality of pay, opportunity, and social reward for skill and equal work 

in agriculture as compared with other occupations. 

2. Universal, free education for farm children, universally accessible. 

3. Extensions of the benefits of modern civilization to the open country, in 

spite of the added cost, part of which should be borne by general taxa- 
tion. 

4. Universal recognition of the right of farmers to bargain collectively 

through co-operation and other associations. 

5. Adoption of the principle of gradual abolition of farm tenancy, on the 

theory that no land should be held permanently for renting. 

6. Recognition of the right of each nation to withhold from export, supplies 

essential to agriculture which are limited in quantity, but to withhold 
such supplies only when limited. 

7. Recognition of the principle that the depression of agriculture consti- 

tutes the central danger to civilization; and that the demand for cheap 
food at the expense of a decent standard of living on the farm leads to 
agricultural disintegration and general decay. 

8. Recognition of the principle that the compensation of agricultural pro- 

ducers on the basis of cost of production plus a reasonable profit is 
vital to the maintenance of a permanent agriculture, and therefore of a 
permanent civilization; and that this principle shall be observed through- 
out the world by means of regulation of international trade. 

9. Recognition of the principle that a low standard among farmers anywhere 

in the world is a menace to the standard of living of all other farmers 
elsewhere. 

Recommendations were made at this convention for the establishment of a 
National business unit among the several business enterprises of the Union, as 
soon as possible. The setting aside of a half day for the discussion of co-operative 
enterprises of the Union, and recognition of the desirability of adopting a uniform 
accounting system and of establishing closer relationships between the different 
State organizations, are promising steps that this convention took. Special pro- 
vision was made for the setting aside of one-fourth of the proceeds of the National 
Union for assistance in building the proposed "Temple of Agriculture" at Wash- 
ington, D. C, which was to be used as headquarters for the National Board of Farm 
Organizations. 

An adopted report of the committee on cotton, condemned the one-crop system 
of the cotton farmer as industrial slavery, and championed acreage reduction in 
order that "sufficient feed be produced to maintain a hen house, pig pen, and cow 
lot, large enough that It will mean all the living expenses of the family and no 
more feed bills for the work teams." 

The franchise tax that had been paid regularly in the State of Texas, was 
removed this year on the ground tliat the Farmers' Union is a fraternal organiza- 
tion. 

The Secretary was authorized to issue a modern constitution as soon as certain 
amendments had been properly adopted by the membership. One of the most 
important of these proposed amendments proposed an Increase in the national 
dues from 16 cents per member per annum to 25 cents. 



ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE FARMERS' UNION 31 



FIFTEENTH ANNUAL CONVENTION, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, 

NOVEMBER 18-20, 1919 

The following official notification informed the membership of this approach- 
ing meeting: 

Gravette, Arkansas, October 14, 1919. 

To the Members of the Farmers' Union: 

You are hereby notified that the fifteenth annual meeting of the National 
Farmers' Educational and Co-operative Union of America will convene in the 
Chamber of Commerce building, city of Memphis, Tennessee, on the 18th day of 
November, 1919, at 10 o'clock A. M., that fixed by the Constitution for holding said 

meeting. . 

The purpose of the meeting is the election of officers and the transaction ol 
such business as may properly come before it. The Union will remain in session 
until disposition has been made of all proper business. 

State Secretaries will please notify their respective State delegations of the 

time and place of meeting. 

Done in keeping with the provisions of the constitution and by authority vested 
in me as president. - Fraternally yours, 

C. S. BARRETT, President. 

Attest: A. C. DAVIS, Secretary-Treasurer. 

co-operative business seems to have been the theme of this «°;^«'^tion^ to 
»g wTthe resolution passed at the last convention P--*-^ J^ ^^f^ f^^^^ 
Keeping wiLu V. „„t,-,HHo= rpnnrt^i of the enterprises m various fatates 

discussion of such Dusmess ^'^ti^^'^^^'/^Pf ^' °' ''"^^ij, ."l Oregon- A. B. Thorn- 

carrylK on .duc«lo».l wort, .»4 tie ™'»»' ''"''""' J,,„„l „„,o„. oiK.r 
. .l„«, pie. <» 1«»,„M •»• "r;';;"^" ,*" » HU.W ,r,.e.«d » tl« 
wo.t.o.=e. and *°"«°»™* »' ''J^m ,to co^>po»tlv. ptogran. ol th. 

z:r^^ s,r.re":^r'L.d,„uo..,. «. co.c,od,« p... o. 

between Capital, Labor and ^l^^/^^'^^;. ''":,„. ^.^ .j^jg period of economic turmoil 
farmer must be the intercessor and stabili er d™ *- P« ^^ ,^3 

,,, „„„.....».. However, he ^^--^t^ests of the farmer may be advanced. 

P^'' "" ■ . .,.„ .,r,„r.„-,rT«,r.«e of the established National Board of 

For ' ^ 52 000 was made to assist in paying the 

Far ._ , __„„,... :,„n ^nd State unions were instructed to report 

running expenses oi ui.u -fe:^^;;;"";' . union, any contributions that their 

to the National Secretary of the Farmers 

State might make. drafting of a new constitution, and 

Tie Board o< Mr.otors "«™™?'^J,'; fCmttl.o ™ appointed to sW 

J„ ordor ttat It m«M M done ""M"' f 4' new oonrtltotlon. as oodU.d and 

frr«*s .f:=»r.:r,rtdo::^ » - — ■= — ■« 
:rr^i ^r r^oVa-^' "..on, l. .» ..oa.. .. ^^. 



32 THE FARMERS' UNION 



members of the Union consider it, this was an attempt to undermine Unionism, 
Mr. Barrett has expressed himself as opposed to re-election when his present term 
of oflace comes to an end in November, 1920. The real test of Union strength will 
then be made. Postered so long a time by the personality of one man, will 
loyalty to the principles of the organization continue to hold together the interests 
of the cotton farmer of the South, who has already organized a special associa- 
tion for his own interests, and the grain and live stock farmers of the great North- 
west? Will conservatism and radicalism, both of which are apparent in Union 
activities, be able to agree on a working platform as has been expressed by the 
Farmers' Union since 1902? 

Conclusion 

The minutes of these national conventions that have been held since 
1908 have been weU prepared and published in pamphlet form of from 50 
to 100 pages. They are well arranged and indexed so as to set forth in a 
clear -way the financial affairs, reports of committees, and recommenda- 
tions and resolutions of each convention. 

From a study of these minutes the growth of the Union appears all the 
more remarkable as the looseness of the organization is realized. The 
National Union has been largely only an organizing or propaganda force, 
whose activity, following the annual adoption of reports, resolutions, and 
recommendations, is centered largely in financing and directing organizing 
work in different States. Union officials recognize this lack of co-ordination, 
and their efforts have been wisely directed at teaching the farmer to con- 
cede, to co-operate, and to study his own problem instead of letting finan- 
ciers and speculators solve it to suit themselves. 

In spite of slumps in enthusiasm on the part of the membership, de- 
spairing discouragement on the part of the officials, and opposition on the 
part of special interests, the Farmers' Union has "carried on." By broad- 
ening its interests, adhering to sound principles, and systematizing its 
businesses, it should continue to benefit that part of its membership wkich 
has more than a spontaneous enthusiasm. 



CHAPTER II 
CO-OPERATIVE ACTIVITIES OP THE FARMERS' UNION 

General Principles 

' ' To others will be left the duty of instructing the farmer how to grow 
larger crops than he has ever grown before. . . . the Union will de- 
vote its energies and direct its attention toward better price? for that which 
is already grown. ' '^ 

In keeping with this announced policy and in order to ' ' better the con- 
dition of the American farmer ' ' by establishing a less wasteful system of ^ 
distribution, the Farmers' Union has continually stressed the necessity of 
establishing co-operative business enterprises. Most Union leaders identify 
the success of the Union as an organization with the success of its co-opera- 
tive enteri^rises. The National Lecturer of the Union, W. C. Lansdon, says : 
"Wherever co-operative business is firmly established there our Farmers' 
Union is strong; wherever co-operation has been neglected or has failed 
through lack of knowledge, sense, or courage, the Farmers ' Union is dead, ' ' 
and the Board of Directors at the National Convention in 1919 declared 
that the future success of the Farmers' Union depended very largely upon 
the development of business institutions. These businesses include, "eo/ ^ 
operative elevators, mills, creameries, cheese factories, cotton gins, ware- 
houses, terminals, stockyards, packing houses and the necessary distributive 
agencies for placing the various products directly in the hands of the 
consumer. ' '^ 

Even though the Board of Directors of the National Union made the 
statement in their report for April 1919 that, "the general plan now, is 
the establishment of co-operative business enterprises immediately upon 
organization," yet a more business-like policy is favored and practiced by 
some parts of the membership. Especially is this true as the organization 
grows older and discovers from experience the difference between a real 
and only an imaginary need for such enterprises. This saner view is ex- 
pressed by E. Gregory in the Breeders Gazette for February 12, 1920. In 
this article he admits that "the time was when the Farmers' Union, first 
dash, jumped blindly into co-operative stores, banking, mining, etc.," yet, 
Le maintains that "we have outgrown all that. A banker can do that 
business better than a farmer can. So it is, all along the line. We are 
content to tend to our own business and let the other fellow tend to his'n! 
We are going to see that the dishonest moneyed man does not steal so much 
of our produce as he has stolen in the past." Practically this same con- 
clusion is reached by the State Secretary of the Farmers' Union of Oregon- 
Southern Idaho. In his report .for 1915, he says, "Where Farmers Union 



1 C. S. Barrett, "Bistory of the Farmers' U-nion," page 100. 
■ Minutes of National Convention, 1919. 



34 THE FARMERS' UNION 



stores have been in operation long, we note with much sadness and much 
regret the decline of the locals in that county . . . There should be 
some policy adopted to hold intact the progressive locals which build stores 
and warehouses and then slack back and think their mission is ended." 
This 1915 State Convention also listened to a similar recommendation from 
the Committee on the Good of the Order. According to Section 2 of this 
report : ' ' We encourage purchasing from the Tri-Terminal Warehouse Co., 
or other union selling agencies but discourage the co-operative store propo- 
sition." 

This more business-like view is shown in the following chart which is 
used by the organizers for the Kentucky State Union. This chart, printed 
in large letters on canvas about 4x6 feet in size, together with a number 
of others, is displayed to prospective organizations and proper emphasis is 
placed on the points as outlined. 

CHAET 

ESSBN^ALS TO SUCCESSFUL Co-OPERATION 

1. SUFFICIENT BUSINESS A NECESSITY. 

2. THE UNIT MUST LIB IN A RESTRICTED AREA. 

3. A BUSINESS SIMPLE IN CHARACTER. 

4. THERE MUST BE VITAL INTERESTS INVOLVED. 

5. MEMBERS SHOULD HAVE AN INTELLIGENT UNDERSTANDING OF 

CO-OPERATION AND THE "CO-OPERATIVE SPIRIT." 

6. SUFFICIENT PATIENCE TO BUILD THE ORGANIZATION GRAD- 

UALLY. 

7. THERE MUST BE LOYALTY TO THE ASSOCIATION. 

8. QUALITY AND EQUALITY. 

THE CO-OPERATIVE COMPANY ITSELF. 

9. THERE MUST BE SUFFICIENT CAPITAL. 

10. THE CO-OPERATIVE ENTERPRISE MUST BE INCORPORATED. 

11. COMPETENT AND EFFICIENT MANAGEMENT, A BOARD OF DIRECT- 

ORS SELECTED FOR FITNESS. 

12. BUSINESS-LIKE IN CHARACTER. 

13. ADEQUATE SYSTEM OF ACCOUNTING. 

14. CAREFUL AUDITING— ABSOLUTE PUBLICITY 

15. TRANSFER OF SHARES. 

16. GOOD FEDERATION OF CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES 

17. THE "FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES" IN THE MANAGEMENT OF A 

"SOCIETY" ARE FOUND IN THE ROCHDALE SYSTEM. 

Such consideration of whether or not there is a real need for co-operative 
business is a guarantee against many of the failures that have characterized 
numerous co-operative attempts of the past. It is a promising step, both 
for the Farmers' Union and the co-operative principle as a whole, that these 
considerations are being made. 

The Eochdale System, as recommended, is not in aU instances followed 
by the different local unions in their co-operative attempts. Yet it is the 
only system of co-operation that has received the endorsement of the Na- 
tional Union, and the National Union recommends it as the only proper 



CO-OPERATIVE ACTIVITI ES OF THE FARMERS' UNION 35 

basis of all such business enterprises. The principles of co-operation as 
outlined by the National Lecturer, W. C. Lansdon, in his report to the 
1919 National Convention of the Farmers' Union are given below. 

Rochdale Principles op Co-operation 

I. It is made up of a much larger number of shareholders than are required 
for a joint-stock concern, and the shareholders are the patrons who 
pledge themselves by their membership to furnish the business that it is 
proposed to do. 

II. The capital investment of each member or shareholder is limited to a very 
small percentage of the entire authorized capitalization. This indicates 
and emphasizes the fact, fundamental in co-operation, that such an 
organization is an organization of men rather than of money. 

III. Each member of a co-operative enterprise has one vote in all shareholders' 

meetings, entirely regardless of the amount of his investment in the 
Capital stock. This again shows that a co-operative is an association 
of members and not of capital. 

IV. Only a limited return, usually determined by the standard bank interest 

rate of the locality in which the project is established is paid to capital. 
V. Provision should be made for an educational fund for the purpose of pro- 
moting the growth of co-operation by spreading its principles among 
both producers and consumers. 
VI. It is fundamental that provision must be made for the growth of business 
and for establishing its finances on a firm basis by retaining a fair 
share of the profits in reserves for the use of the company or their 
conversion into capital by the payment of such profit to members in 
shares rather than cash. 
VII. If trade dividends are earned they must be distributed in such a way that 
each member receives for himself either in cash or in some form of 
shares or credits, all the profits that are made on his own transactions 
with the association. 
VIII. The credit system, one of the very greatest evils that the Farmers' Union 
was organized to correct, must be prohibited, and unless failure is de- 
sired, this rule must be enforced without favor and without fear. 
IX. The accounts must be kept in such a way that they contain a complete 
record of the transactions between the company and each of its mem- 
bers, and this is in addition to the usual books of record and accounts 
common to all commercial enterprises. The books, accounts, and prop- 
erty must be audited at regular and somewhat frequent intervals by 
impartial and competent men whose only purpose is to find and report 
the exact truth as to the business. 

Organized on these general principles, the co-operative business activi- 
ties of the Farmers' Union, as fostered by the National, State, District, 
County and Local Unions, come under the four heads of co-operative 
selling, co-operative buying, co-operative manufacturing, and co-operative 
insurance. 

Co-operative Selling 

As a producer who sells more than he buys the farmer should expect 
greater profits from co-operative selling than from any other co-operative 



36 THE3 FARMERS' UNION 



activity. The large amounts of produce, cotton, grain, live stock, etc., that 
may be disposed of at one time should be productive of very great co-opera- 
tive profits. But in practice we find that even among the farmers the 
easily organized buying clubs with their easily realized profits are far 
more popvilar than any other effort along co-operative lines. With growing 
confidence, increased recognition in the commercial world, and widely 
diffused education along co-operative lines, we may expect a greater willing- 
ness on the part of the farmers to advance their own capital for the erection 
of more warehouses, storage and drying plants, packing houses, etc. The 
greater capital required, the increased chances of failure, the tendency 
towards disloyalty when better prices are offered elsewhere, and the diffi- 
culty of securing real honest managerial ability for selling organizations 
at prices which the farmer is willing to pay, are sufficient explanations for 
this comparatively undeveloped field of co-operative selling. 

Though T. J. Brooks, in his pamphlet, "The Origin, History and Prin- 
ciples of the Farmers' Educational and Co-operative Union of America," 
states that the purpose of the Union is "to inaugurate a system of market- 
ing the surplus from producers to consvimers throughout the year, at an 
equitable scale of prices, ' ' the activity of the Farmers ' Union in the selling 
field has been, until recent years, primarily concerned with the cotton crop. 
The absence of marketing facilities and the prevailing low price received 
for this ' ' support of the South ' ' has justified numerous attempts to increase 
the margin of profit received by the cotton farmers. The absolute depend- 
ence of southern farmers upon this one crop before the days of diversified 
farming made necessary some kind of co-operative activity if a fair price 
were to be obtained for it. 

Originating in a cotton State, as set forth in Chapter I, the Farmers' 
Union spread rapidly over that entire section. "The question uppermost 
in the minds of the founders of the order was, how can the farmer secure 
a fair and equitable price for this great cash crop of the South."! 

The ever present problem of the Union in its early days was to educate 
its members and prospective members to be less dependent on this one crop, 
and especially to reach that point of independence that woiild enable them 
to refrain from depending on advances on the growing crop. The bringing 
of the farmer up to this point of independence would of itself end the so- 
called tyranny of the middleman and speculator, and would also lessen the 
financial burden of establishing and maintaining Union warehouses. The 
U. S. Agricultural Bulletin No. 547 finds that "the marketing of the cotton 
crop has, to a large extent, been taken out of the hands of the farmer," 
because of "the common custom of securing advances on growing crops 
from merchants and others." This same practice has made it necessary 
for the Union to urge an "Amalgamation of warehouse interests of each 
State into one co-operative company under single management. "2 This con- 
solidation has been necessary because of the difficulty, ou the part of local, 

u nl3''" if„"Tn*'rF''''''°*i''"°l.""'*r^*'<'"°P^''''**''« '^"*o» "f '^«ieHca, What It Is and What It 
js uoinif, Dy A. c. Davis, Secretary-Treasurer. 

= IMd., page 26. 



CO-OPERATIVE ACTIVITIES OF THE FARMERS' UNION 37 

independent wareliouses, of securing sufficient funds to advance on "dis- 
tress" cotton. The crying need for such advances is seen in the testimony 
of Mr. George K. Holmes, of the U. S. Department of Agriculture before 
the U. S. Industrial Commission. "It is safe to say," he said, "the liens 
on the cotton crop of the South, probably average 50 per cent, a year. All 
cotton men will agree that the store system of the South is a sort of 
peonage; that is what it amounts to with the cotton planter. "^ 

This movement to link up the local co-operative warehouses into a State 
and even national system, besides originating from the economic necessity 
for such action, is in keeping with the recommendations of the National 
Union. An explanation of the nature of the proposed system is contained 
in the recommendation of the Committee on Grain Elevators and Ware- 
houses made to the delegates who composed the 1917 convention which met 
at Jonesboro, Arkansas. "We recommend," they said, "the formation of 
co-operative elevators under the county unit plan. Under this system all ' 
the elevators and warehouses in one county or adjacent territory are or- 
ganized and operated with one Board of Directors. These in turn can 
employ one manager, securing the best talent possible, who can oversee the 
working of the various local managers subject to his orders. In this manner 
the operation of several elevators can be controlled by one head, who can 
keep in touch with all. "2 Of course, these recommendations for federation, 
tho morally binding, are not legally so. 

The movement for a more effective system of federated co-operative 
effort is founded largely on plans proposed in 1908 by C. T. Ladson, of 
Atlanta, at that time (General Counsel for the National Farmers' Union. 
The first effort was made in November, 1908, when Mr. C. S. Barrett, 
President of the Union, realizing that "the several hundred [1,500 Farmers' 
Union warehouses in 1909] warehouses in the South do not seem to be doing 
as much for the financial interests of the farmers as they ought," wrote to 
the Honorable C. T. Ladson asking him to, " - outline a practical 

and systematic plan for getting these warehouses to co-operate . . . " 
Mr Ladson's answer to that letter provided a plan for federating those 
local union warehouses; and central cotton companies have been organized 
ir. most of the cotton States on the principles as outhned m that letter. 
■ Some of these 15 principles are given in the following extracts from that 

letter : 

Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 25, 1908. 

Mr. Chas. S. Barrett, President of the National Farmers' Union, Union City, 
Georgia.: 
My Dear Sir: — . • • 

(1) . . . federate such warehouses Into State and interstate central 

companies. ^^^i, ^ju enable the members to borrow more money and at 

greatly reduced rates of interest. 

~^^^^rth:To»tt^e ^„°1n^eTstrc^m^'e ™"Vo^: Tl^ PP-Vsi. Quotea from 



38 THE FARMERS' UNION 



(5) By federating all the Farmers' Union warehouses in each State, and 
forming State central companies, these central companies having such great 
financial strength, would quickly attain high commercial ratings, and warehouse 
receipts or certificates, guaranteed by such central companies, would be regarded 
as A-1 securety or collateral, in any banlt in the United States. 

(8) And when State central companies have been successfully operated for 
a season . interstate companies would be formed. . . . 

(7) By the aid of these strong central companies ten dollars, doubtless, could 
be borrowed where one dollar can be borrowed now, and at about one-half the 
rates of interest now charged. 

(8) . . . the forming of these central companies would . tend 
to increase the number of Farmers' Union warehouses 

(9) _ . . the forming of strong central companies would have to precede 
the forming and .successful operation of central selling companies. 

(10) Of coarse, to successfully carry out these plans will require a great 
deal of sound business sense. It will require loyalty and confidence and co-opera- 
tion of the membership now owning such warehouses, as well also of the rank and 
file of the entire membership. The most experienced men should be placed at 
the head of such central companies. . . 

(12) Such central companies can be legally formed by either exchanging 
stock now held in individual companies, for stock in such central companies 

. ; or 

(13) By the formation of central holding companies. . 

(15) It is impossible in a letter to more than briefly outline plans of this 
character. As previously stated, in order to make these central companies suc- 
cessful, the loyalty, confidence, and support of your membership must he forth- 
coming, otherwise, such plans, when attempted to be put in operation, like another 
business undertaking lacking in these essentials, will result in failure. 

Very truly and sincerely yours, 

C. T. LADSON, 
General Counsel National Farmers' Union. 

The sound advise given in this letter has probably prevented many 
expensive adventures that might have been indulged in by indignant 
farmers. But the time was not then ripe, nor is the farmer yet ready for 
many extensive business adventures as here outlined. Efforts were made, 
at the time, to establish a few central companies, of which the Farmers' 
Union Cotton Company at Memphis, Tennessee, was the chief. But these 
were not able to complete their organization on a purely co-operative basis ; 
and we can find but few really successful businesses of this larger nature 
that have enjoyed long life. The development within the last few yeart, 
of the State Wholesale or Co-operative Exchange comes closer to the eentrpl 
exchange idea, and it gives promise of real benefit to the farmer as well as 
success for itself. Yet these exchanges are as much, and in some instances 
more interested in handling those things that the farmer buys, as well as 
in his products that are for sale. Such State exchanges or co-operative 
wholesalers which deal with the local co-operative enterprises, and even 
with individual members of the Union, have been organized and are op- 
erating successfully as follows : 



CO-OPERATIVE ACTIVITIES OF THE FARMERS' UNION 39 

South Dakota State Exchange. 

California Farmers' Union, Inc., 112 Market St., San Francisco. 

Colorado, Wlaolesale House, 1153 Wazee St., Denver. 

Iowa, State Exchange. 

Kansas, Farmers' Union Jobbing Association, Kansas City. 

Kentucky. The Associated Co-operators of Kentucky, Inc., 510 Trust Co. 
Building, Lexington. 

Nebraska, Farmers' Union, State Exchange, Omaha. 

North Carolina, State Exchange, (proposed for 1920). 

Washington, Idaho and Oregon, Tri-State Terminal Warehouse Company, 
Seattle, Washington. 

Most of these wholesale houses have been established for making real 
some of the immediate benefits of co-operation ; hence the lack of a system 
for handling the products of the farm. Their chief function may be said to 
be educational ; having made real, the benefits of simple co-operative buying, 
the next step to be expected is the direction of the increased willingness, on 
the part of the farmer, to unite in his efforts to dispose of his produce.. 

Organized first with a view to solvuig the problems of the cotton 
farmer, and in fact working v.'ith that as the primary purpose in 1907, and 
later, as indicated in the quotations from Mr. Ladson's letter relative to 
central cotton companies; in recent years most progress has been made in 
co-operative activities among others than the cotton farmer of the South. An 
effective elevator system which esehiplifies these more extensive activities 
of the Union is being operated in Montana. The Toole county elevator 
system, operating three elevators, one at Galata, Devon, and Dunkirk, and 
scales Ind loaders at three other places, has plans for establishing still three 
other elevators and a flour mill. The entire system is managed by nine 
directors who employ only one general manager and one head bookkeeper. 
The entire amount of wheat bought at the different places is reported to 
the mana-er every night and he hedges it in the terminal market next 
morning ^members selling to others than the Union are fined one cent a 
bushel Another advanced step in co-operative selling is the live stock 
commission that has been launched by the Farmers' Union of Colorado. 
The State union has official commission men in the yards at Denver, Omaha, 
Kansas City, St. Joe, and Sioux City. 

Excepting these mentioned and a few other instances, the Farmers 
Union has not as yet developed any extensive marketing system for its 
members; which fact reflects the lack of a demand for such -tmty on the 
part of the membership. The temptation to take advantage of the be., 
offer for goods on hand, blinds many farmers ^^fe advantage to be 
realized in the long run by co-operative activity. This tendency, the lack 

eady capital, and an unwillingness to pay the price for really capabl 
managers of complex marketing systems, will continue, we ^eheve, o be a 
sibling block in the path of Union progress m co-operative selling of 
farm products. 



40 THE FARMERS' UNION 



Co-OPEEATiVE Buying 

The immediate profits that are realized from co-operative buying and 
the meager capital necessary to engage in such activity has made it the 
most popular of co-operative activities. Especially is this true where no 
enterprising citizen has already met the need of his community by establish- 
ing his business for the good of the community as well as for his own profits. 
Since few communities are served by such "benevolent despots," the Farm- 
ers' Union has found fertile ground for the organization of such local buy- 
ing clubs and co-operative stores as a nucleus of Union principles. 

Terms of 30 to 60 days enable a club to make its purchases, distribute 
them, and send the receipts from the members as payment ; thus little or no 
capital is required and the services of the regular merchant are dispensed 
with by members taking turn about in distributing the order. This, we 
must remember, is the most primitive type of co-operative organization that 
is urged only as a preliminary to a larger and more business-like organiza- 
tion. 

The usual plan for a co-operative store as organized by the Farmers' 
Union is to operate on the Rochdale principles, as outlined on a previous page 
selling at regular market prices and distributing the profits or savings at the 
end of the year in proportion to the amount of purchases of different mem- 
bers. This permits a real business-like administration of the affairs of the or- 
ganization, the employment of a business man to conduct the business of the 
association and a material demonstration of the benefits of Union activity. 
These stores have gradually forced manufacturers and wholesale houses to 
sell to them on the same terms as privately owned stores ; though there are 
many instances in which discrimination has been practiced against such 
co-operative enterprises as these that are under discussion. This discrimina- 
tion and the lack of a co-operative spirit that remains loyal despite special 
bargains that other enterprises may offer temporarily, have proved the 
death of many attempts along co-operative lines. Such is the reported ex- 
perience of the local co-operative of Hensley Creek, Montana. Twine was 
priced by the local dealers at 12i/^c per pound until the Union ordered a 
carload ; then the dealers came down to IQiAc and later to lOe per pound. 
Then the "weak-hearted" deserted with the sentiment, "What's the use of 
an organization when we can buy from the dealers at such low prices." 
Numerous other examples of like nature might be cited to show that the 
Union has had to overcome many obstacles in its efforts to provide substan- 
tial benefits to its members. The extreme step, the manufacturing of those 
articles in which there is practiced some discrimination, that has been taken 
by the English and other European Co-operatives has been less frequent 
in this country, but a few instances of such attempts will be given in the 
next division of this chapter. 

At the present time Union stores are able to make their purchases from 
most wholesale houses and manufacturers on the same terms as other similar 
businesses, with, perhaps, some limitations on credit purchases because of 
the limited capital that is back of some of them and the consequent dangers 



CO-OPERATIVE A CTIVITIES OF THE FARMERS' UNION 41 

ol failure. Even the larger industries are coming into closer relations with 
the Union organization as is seen in the following report of the Board of 
Directors of the National Union at the National Convention held in 1918. 
"Upon the invitation of the ofBcials of Iowa," the Directors reported, "the 
officials of a number of State unions together with the National Board of 
Directors met in the city of Moline, Illinois, to discu.ss with the John Deer 
Plow Company the feasibility of a plan to get the products of their factory 
direct to the American farmer. No definite understanding was reached 
at the time, but the effect of such meetings will bring about a better under- 
standing . . . between the manufacturer and the consumer." Such 
a move on the part of the Farmers ' Union may prove of vast benefit to the 
farmer in savings on the purchase of needed equipment, provided there is 
first efl:ected a reliable, competent, and efficient system by which such busi- 
ness can be handled more satisfactorily to the manufactiirer as well as to 
the farmer. The perfecting of such systems will undoubtedly bring about 
the desired changes in methods of distribution. 

The present tendency on the part of the Union is to develop State ex- 
changes, or co-operative wholesale houses, which have been mentioned in the 
first part of this chapter. This venture has greatly systematized co-opera- 
tive purchasing and it promises to become one of the most profitable co- 
operative attempts yet made. These exchanges are to be organized on a 
truly co-operative basis, all local co-operative stores, buying clubs, etc., to 
furnish the necessary capital and make all their purchases through it. The 
exchange, acting as a center for the demands of the local stores, and re 
ceiving special quotations from manufacturers and others, is able, by buying 
in larger quantities, to secure more favorable prices than could be quoted 
to locals on the small orders that they would send in to the manufacturer. 
These exchanges may be considered as a result of Union, success in different 
States, but it is also true that their establishment has guaranteed a con- 
tinuation of that success, where proper regard has been given to the man- 
agement and to the installation of an adequate accounting system. 

At different places the Farmers' Union and members of labor organiza- 
tions have combined to guarantee the success of co-operative buying. Such 
combinations have been sanctioned by the Union when the members of the 
labor organization subscribe for their part of the stock. 

One of the chief aims of the Union in promoting co-operative buying 
is to demonstrate the benefits of Union membership. The exchange, by 
holding to this principle and selling to individual members of the Union on 
the same terms as to local co-operative organizations, has given grounds for 
some criticism within the ranks of Unionism, especially on the part of those 
who are managing the local enterprise. But such a principle is the only 
safe guarantee that the local organization will not become an individual 
profit making establishment. The loss of trade by the local co-operative 
should be a negligible quantity when it is run on a real co-operative basis; 
then those members who are unable to reach the local organization may 



42 THE FARMERS' UNION 



profit, individually, by the benefits to be gained from trading with the State 
exchange. 

Numerous efforts along co-operative lines may be found outlined at the 
end of this chapter where co-operative activities in different States are 
enumerated. 

CO-OPEEATIVE MaNUPACTUEING 

Successful manufacturing undertakings in which the Farmers' Union 
is, or has been, engaged are of a local nature and are comparatively simple 
in their operation. Such activities claimed by the Union are : ' ' pickle fac- 
tories, flouring mills, phosphate plants, packing plants, creameries, imple- 
ment factories, tobacco factories, etc." 

The lack of continued interest, after the first heat of indignation at other 
manufacturers had passed away, has proved the death of many such pre- 
mature undertakings. The continued interest, day in and day out, that is 
necessary for the success of a manufacturing plant is hard to keep alive 
among those whose interest is in the things that grow. 

The period 1907-1910 saw most of these spasmodic attempts which were 
made by farmers who were made "righteously indignant" by the hard 
times and apparent extortion practiced by the local dealers, and the refusal 
of manufacturers and wholesalers to have any dealings with such an un- 
certain quantity as the Union was at that time. One of the first ventures 
of this nature was the operation of an implement company, capitalized at 
$50,000 at Union City, Ga., in 1907. ^ At the same time the Union Phos- 
phate Company was organized. These activities, and many other so-called 
co-operative attempts at manufacturing cannot be classed as 100 per cent, 
co-operative, rather must we consider them as joint-stock companies com- 
posed of a large number of stockholders. 

In all probability, most of the attempts at co-operative manufacturing 
bave been sponsored by a few enthusiastic individuals, sometimes for per- 
sonal profit in order to sell the Union something in which they were inter- 
ested, or from purely altruistic motives. Frequently, at least, it is necessary 
for a few individuals to stand for any deficit that might be incurred, ot 
even to furnish most of the capital, which facts tend to cause the undertak- 
ing to soon lose any of the co-operative traits that it may have once pos- 
sessed. 

A few instances of co-operative manufacturing are given at the end of 
this chapter, but even these are not all 100 per cent, co-operative. On the 
whole, we are safe in saying that such undertakings have been wisely 
avoided by the Farmers' Union, which has profited by the failure of such 
enterprises that were unfortunate enough to be the forerunners in this 
endeavor. 

Undoubtedly it is better, in this day of specialization, for the manufac- 
turer to look after the manufacturing and the farmer to look after the 

» For fuller particulars of this early attempt at manufaeturinK. see Barrptt'o <'TTij>inn, 
etc., of the Farmers' Union." pp. 217 and 2QS. >- •^""B, bce uarrett s History, 



CO-OPERATIVE ACTIVITIES OF THE FARMERS' UNION 



43 



farming, except in simple process, as creameries, cotton gins, etc. Occupa- 
tions are becoming too technical and complexly developed for any one class 
ot people to undertake to perform successfully, more than its own particular 
business; and, fortunately, the wiser leaders of the Farmers' Union are 
taking this larger view of co-operative manufacturing. 

Co-oPEBATivE Insurance 

Probably one of the most simple, yet most profitable, activities of the 
Farmers' Union is that of mutual insurance. Though such insurance has 
not made much headway, as yet, in Union ranks, the Union has been able 
to draw from the experience of other attempts that have been made in this 
field, and thus practically guarantee the success of its own attempts. 

The Farmers' Mutual Protective Association of Colorado which was 
established in 1913, in connection with the Farmers' Union of that State, 
is a typical example of Farmers' Union co-operative insurance. The entire 
management of the Association is vested in the regular officials, the State 
Union officials being the officials of the insurance company. Only Union 
members may be insured in the association and the policy carried by a 
member terminates with his failure to pay the regular Union dues. Unless 
otherwise selected, the local agent for the Insurance Association is the sec- 
retary of that local union. The premium on a five-year policy, insuring 
against fire and lightning, is $5 per $1,000, collected in advance, with the 
privilege reserved of assessing the policyholder any additional amounts 
needed to pay unforeseen losses or expenses. The report of the Committee 
on Co-operative Insurance 'in 1917 showed, however, that no assessments 
had been necessary during the life of the Association ; that no law suits nor 
contests had been engaged in; and that all losses, 108 in number, and ex- 
penses, had been propei*ly met by the membership fee of $5 per $1,000,. 
Good business, however, demands that such co-operative associations limit 
the size of policy written, that the disastrous results that might follow an 
extensive loss may be avoided. 

The following report for 1917, of the Secretary of the State Union of 
Colorado shows a growth of the insurance business that was just then 
beginning in earnest : 

The Farmers' Union Mutual Protective Association. 

Denver, Colorado, Feb. 10, 1917. 

Insurance m force January 1, 1916 $1,036,595 

Insurance written in 1916 1,681,638 

Total Insurance, January 1, 1917 $2,718,233 

Cash on hand January 1, 1916 $ 698.56 

Cash collected in 1916 4,968.77 

Total cash and collections $5,667.38 



44 THE FARMERS' UNION 



Losses paid— 61 $3,581.03 

Expenses 1,543.53 

Cash on hand 542.80 

Total accounled for 15,667.38 

The report of this Association to the National Convention which met in 1919 
showed a total amount of business amounting to about $10,000,000. 

* * * * 

The following pages present a rough summary of the co-operative activi- 
ties of the various kinds as carried on in different States under the Farm- 
ers* Union organization. Only a few representative types of such activity 
are given, but we have tried to arrive at a comparative estimate of the 
importance of the work in each State and to give a true picture of the work 
by giving instances of failure, as well as success, in co-operative enterprises. 
Most of the following information has been taken from a pamphlet, "The 
Farmers' Educational and Co-operative Union of America, What it is and 
"What it is doing, Supplement A," prepared in 1917 by Mr. A. C. Davis, 
Secretary-Treasurer of the National Union. Union officials have also made 
available for my ase a typewritten report of Co-operative activities of the 
Farmers' Union, prepared in 1919-20 by a special Committee appointed by 
the executive committee of the Union to compile such data. 

Alabama:— No definite report, only "an abundance of business done through 
its warehouses and associations in the buying and selling of supplies." 

Arkansas:- Of sixteen co-operative enterprises reported, more than one-half 
of them have less than $100 capital, and it seems that the Rochdale system is not 
strictly followed. One local union enterprise in Van Buren county reports a profit 
of 67 per cent, for the second year, 77 per cent, the third year, and that a $1 share 
as now worth $25. A co-operative ginning plant in Logan county, capitalized at 
$6,000 is admitted to have two-thirds of its stock owned by private capital. A 
reputed co-operative company of 208 shares was reported and condemned as being 
nothing more than a joint-stock company. Rochdale organization, rapid turnover, 
and the probable filling of a real need, Is seen in the co-operative store at Lake 
City, Craighead county, which began business in October, 1916, with a paid-up 
capital of $450, whose statement at the end of two months showed' sales amounting 
to $1,076 and an inrolce of $160. 

California:— The buying and selling of the local unions centers In the Incor- 
porated State Union at San Francisco. The handling of dried fruits and non- 
perishable products constitute the selling activity of the union. At Riverside 
on the Sante Fe railroad, the union and the railroad brotherhoods have united In 
forming a local co-operative, founded on the Rochdale principles. 

Colorado:-The definite report from this State shows much more than a State 
Exchange at Denver. Over $3,000,000 invested in business enterprises- a milk 
condensary; 66 elevators handling hay, grain, farm supplies. Hour, coal, etc.; a Live 
Stock Exchange co-operating with other exchanges In Omaha Sioux Citv SL 
Joseph, and Kansas City; a Mutual Insurance Company carrying over $10,000 000 
in risks; and a business agent in every local union, whose duty It is to encourage 
co-operative buying and selling; all this shows what may be developed b^w'se 
leadership, real business methods, and a willing and sympathetic membershi 

Plorida:-The Union claims credit for having passed a law compelling fer- 



CO-OPERATIVE ACTIVITIES OP THE FARMERS' UNION 45 



tilizer companies to sell In carload lots to farmers on the same term as to dealers. 
It is also reported that union members have been able to fix their own time and 
price on 10,000 barrels of syrup. 

Georgia:— Business activities in this State center about cotton gins, cotton 
warehouses, and co-operative stores. 

Indiana: — Three county mutual insurance companies, 3 stores, and 2 elevators 
are claimed by Union officials in this State. More profitable, probably, are their 
live stock and cantaloupe shipping associations. 

Kansas: — ^According to the Literary Digest of May 8, 1920, page 136, "Kansas 
is the home of the largest co-operative institution in the world, and last year, it 
transacted a business exceeding $150,000,000, every member drawing a dividend. 
The Institution handling this tremendous business is the Farmers' Educational 
and Co-operative Union which controls more business enterprises in the State than 
any other organization." The report from this State to the National Convention 
in 1919 showed 435 co-operative enterprises, 100 of which were stores. The Job- 
bing Association at Kansas City, capitalized at f 60,000, which is held by 1,400 
stockholders, and which has master contracts with four large farm machinery 
manufacturers, is the center of this co-operative activity. Patrons of the Union 
Live Stock Exchange received a refund of from 25 per cent, to 35 per cent, at the 
end of the first year. Union members have the privilege of insuring in the co- 
operative fire and grain insurance company. Union leaders estimated the total co- 
operative business for the year 1919 at $235,000,000. 

Kentucky: — Co-operative work in this State has received a new impetus 
during 1919-20, as a result of intensive work of the State officials and national 
organizers. Twenty-five co-operative stores have been organized in connection 
with local unions, these, the two co-operative mills, and Union members are being 
served through the Co-operative State Exchange, under the name of the Associated 
Co-operators of Kentucky, at Lexington. 

Iowa: — "It has been our policy to build up rather than to destroy. 
We went quietly to work to build up our own enterprises." The State Exchange 
with a full line of farm machinery and acting as an agency for other supplies 
shows the strength of the movement in this State. 

Louisiana: — "The Farmers' Union in Louisiana own and control most of their 
cotton gins." 

Mississippi: — "A number of warehouses and stores" is the only statement 
that we can find about the work here. 

Missouri: — "Fifteen stores run under the iron-clad co-operative system," also 
a system of buying in carlots. 

Montana: — The Toole county elevator system has three elevators, and scales 
and loaders at three other places, all managed by nine directors who employ one 
manager and one head bookkeeper. Six elevators are planned for and a flour mill. 
The Mutual Insurance Company was ready for business January 15, 1916, and has 
written $120,000 in three counties, the cost of policies for both fire and lightning 
being about 50 per cent, of the old line policies. 

Nebraska: — ^According to the State Secretary of the Union, there are estab- 
lished on the Rochdale system, a co-operative grain association capitalized at 
$2,000,000, with over 100 elevators, 15 stores, 2 mills, 1 creamery, and about 125 
buying and shipping associations. The State Exchange was organized at Omaha in 
1914, and is owned and controlled by the entire membership. During the past 
year a saving of $142,200 was effected by the saving of 3 cents per pound on 
4,740,000 pounds of twine handled by the Union, according to Mr. D. R. Ellis, 
Secretary-Treasurer of the State Union. At the 1919 National Convention Mr. G. 
H. Gustafson, President of this State Union, estimated the business for next year 



46 THE FARMERS' UNION 



at $40,000,000; he also reported tlie near success of the 'Dnioii's control of the milft 
supply of Omaha. One railroad, 100 miles long, is reported to have co-operatives 
every ten miles of its right-of-way. The official union paper has a circulation of 
40,000, and sixty of the counties in the State are organized. The State live stock 
commission did more than $40,000,000 of business in 1918, returned 46 per cent, 
as rebate, and held over 5 per cent, of the surplus as a reserve. The State insur- 
ance company insures all f3,rm properties at cost. In all, there are reported to 
be over 400 business associations. 

North Carolina: — A State contracting committee for purchasing fertilizers; 
two tobacco warehouses, cotton gins and warehouses; and co-operative stores, are 
the principal activities of the Union in this State. A proposed State Exchange 
may be expected to increase the transactions of these enterprises. The official 
paper is called the "Co-operator." 

Oklahoma: — "An average of a co-operative enterprise for every 100 members," 
is reported. The elevators, flour mills, cotton gins, and stores are capitalized at 
from $5,000 to $50,000. "Generally speaking, at every trading point where we have 
an organization we have some co-operative business." 

South Carolina: — Cotton v/arehouses have been built and large amounts of 
cotton have been sold through the Parm.ers' Union. 

South Dakota: — The State Exchange is the center for the 70 co-operative 
associations of the elevators, stores, lumber yards, telephone companies, cream- 
eries, and rlour mills. Of the numerous shipping associations the one at Mission 
Hill seems to be the most active, having shipped 50 carloads of various commodi- 
ties during the IS months previous to 1920. "The South Dakota Farmer" is the 
official weekly publication of the Farmers' Union; and the Union is now erecting 
Union halls by popular subscriptions. 

Tennessee: — Scores nf co-operative stores are reported, 2 banks, 2 flour mills, 
a peanut recleaner, 16 cotton warehouses, and 15 gins. Scales have been placed 
at a number of county seats, and creameries and river landings have been organ- 
ized. Poultry and live stock associations receive the hearty support of the Union. 

Virginia:— Present plans are to coordinate, immediately, all the co-operative 
work of this union under one head. There are 14 associations engaged in the pur- 
chase of supplies and the marketing of products, besides the organizations engaged 
in shipping live stock. The Rochdale system is taken as the basis for all work 



done. 

Tri-State:— The wholesale business of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho has 
teen combined in the Tri-State Terminal Company, with headquarters at Seattle 
Washington. "The company operates from nine principal points and has a pur- 
chasmg department carrying a stock of assorted merchandise of about $120 000 
The interior companies are being consolidated with the central company by ex- 
changing 5 per cent, of their assets for co-operative stock in the central company" 
Warehouses, elevators, flour mills, local organizations for marketing and buying 
and co-operative stores are conducted by the union members. Only these members 
can hold stock in the Terminal Company and the $120,000 capital is held by 2 600 
members in these three States. A saving of from 3 cents to 10 cents per bushel 
was effected by the co-operative handling of 4,000,000 bushels of grain in 1917 
Eggs potatoes, etc., are bought by the Terminal Company and it sells to locals 
and to individual members at wholesale prices. The turnover for the year ending 
June 1, 1917, was estimated at $6,000,000. 

... rLti:r.:;>i'S:;:' '' '°-^ '» "••• """ ""- - »~"-- 

I. Have you a Farmers' Union warehouse or elevator? Yes 32 
II. Number of houses operated? 75. 



CO-OPERATIVE ACTIVITIES OF THE FARMERS' UNION 47 

III. Number of houses owned? 67. 

IV. If in Washington, has your company come under the provision of the State 

co-operation, laws? Yes, 5; No, 25. This law is of recent enactment, 
hence the few that have gotten under it. Also, a number of the reports 
came from Idaho. 
V. Is your company organized on a co-operative basis? Yes, 22; No, 10. 
VI. Have you a Farmers' Union store or other enterprise? Yes, 11; No, 17. 
[VII. Not Given.] 

VIII. Give approximate volume of business transacted during the year through 
your local union or business enterprises of all kinds. 

A. Wheat 7,205,035 bushels. 

B. Oats 33,750 tons. 

C. Barley 12,855 tons. 

D. Rye 175 tons. 

E. Wood 2,483 cords. 

F. Posts 85 cars. 

G. Merchandise: — 

flour, feed, fuel, oils, farm 

machinery $3,698.50 

An attempt has been made, in Diagram II, to picture the estimated 
relative importance of the co-operative activities of Union members in 
the different States. No common measure for these activities could 
be found ; hence the conclusions as shown cannot be considered as authorita- 
tive ; though they do represent a careful weighing af all available material 
on these co-operative activities. A study of the preceding summaries, I 
believe, will justify the conclusions reached. The correctness of these con- 
clusions is further strengthened by the fact that officials of the Kentucky 
State Union agree to the probable correctness of this relative importance, as 
shown in Diagram II, shovra on page 48. 



48 



THE FARMERS' UNION 



71 

i^lasram II. - Showing tto Estimated BiporfeBoo of Sjoi^STS**'". 
imvlties of MsSers of the Paraero" telon fJH tje Blfferent 
Statsa. Shade! Aoooriing to H^lntlTB StemalnK. 




(Data tafes from BusmarleB given on BreoeOing 
*!l)xl-3ta;ts - Hasbliigton, Oxegon ami lOaho 



co-operative activities of the farmers' union 49 

General Summary of the Farmers' Union Co-operative Movement 

From this study of the co-operative activities of the Farmers' Union 
we find many instances of small successes, but little effort at a national 
movement. In a nation as large as the United States a few thousand enter- 
prises, such as those established by the Union cannot be considered seri- 
ously. Of course this may be considered as only the beginning of a great 
co-operative movement that some claim is to sweep over the nation. The 
co-operative activities of the Farmers' Union are also discredited to some 
extent because of the lack of a uniform adherance to the Rochdale prin- 
ciples. This lack of true co-operation in some of the enterprises gives 
grounds for some doubt about the validity of other concerns that are put 
forth as really co-operative. There is an apparent confusion, even among 
the Union membership, as to the difference between co-operative and cor- 
porate enterprises. 

The value of a real co-operative enterprise to a needy community cannot 
be overestimated and the Farmers' Union has done creditable work in 
numerous instances in fostering such enterprises. Yet we may justly con- 
demn some of the extreme policies and statements of Union leaders in 
establishing them. The fact that a poor market is better than no market 
at all, makes it necessary for the Farmers' Union to recognize the service 
of those individuals who formerly marketed the farmers' products, and 
who are now carrying on business that the Union does not handle, even 
though large profits are reaped. The Union is coming to realize more and 
more the difficulties that are to be overcome in handling the business of a 
community where haphazard production is carried on and where lack of 
regard, as to the quality and appearance of the products, goes hand in hand 
with the ever-present necessity of receiving the money for the goods as 
soon as produced, or even in advance. However, the Farmers' Union de- 
serves a fair amount of credit for calling a halt to unfair dealings by means 
of its agitation and operation of various industries. 

Undoubtedly the farmer, as well as others of our citizens, has been the 
victim of speculative and unscrupulous dealers at different times. But the 
remedy is largely one of education. The farmer has been too prone to 
' ' just farm ' ' Only within the past few years has there been a wide circula- 
tion of farm magazines, and only now is the daily paper gaining a position 
in the homes of the farmers. From a judicious use of the market quotations 
as given in these papers the farmer of today knows what his produce is 
worth and he can calculate fairly accurately the gains that may be made 
by holding his product for a later market. Developed marketing centers 
have rendered the individual farmer, or groups of farmers independent 
of the local middleman, the "nuisance" of the Union. The Farmers 
Union could well cease its work of useless hostile destructiveness against 
other businesses and put its full strength into constructive endeavor, as 
indicated by the 1919 report of the Iowa State Union. ' I* ^^^ J^- -; 
policy to build up rather than destroy" were the words of that report 
-Therefore we spent no time fighting old time customs and practices; but 



50 THE FARMERS' UNION 



quietly went to work to build our own enterprises." The work of the 
Union should be such as to let its activity speak for itself, successful enter- 
prises cannot be surpassed by propaganda, and unsuccessful enterprises 
should not be longer continued by the clever use of propaganda. 

The lack of an extensive adoption of co-operative principles is attributed 
by Union leaders to the fact that, "No one is to blame but the farmer. He 
raises a year's supply and dumps it off at auction in two months. The 
speculator is not to blame for buying and regulating it to demand. ' '^ The 
national business agent, in his report to the 1916 convention placed the 
responsibility for the intelligent and profitable marketing of farm products, 
directly on the farmer, and on him alone. His report stressed the fact that 
co-operation must begin in a small way and expand — that the "best way to 
learn how to co-operate is to co-operate. ',' His constructive suggestions for 
success were, that all organized territories of the Union take the trouble 
to keep a correct data as to the volume of business transacted by them, and 
then furnish that to a business agent to be used as a basis upon which to 
make contracts for the next year. "The time is ripe, even now," he said, 
"for a beginning of a successful development of this plan." The fact that 
such a systematic plan is not yet practiced generally by Union enterprises, 
is further evidence of the looseness and unsystematic nature of the Union 
organization. 

Most severe were the criticisms of the Farmers' Union as given by the 
National Lecturer, Mr. W. C. Lansdou in his report to the 15th annual con- 
vention. Some of the weaknesses as pointed out by him were: "Under- 
capitalization, and lack of loyal support, incompetent managers ignorant of 
co-operative principles, the shifting of responsibility from members to 
directors and from directors to managers; lack of a definite co-operative 
principle on the part of the National Union and the absence of uniform 
ideals and purposes on the part of the different State Unions;" and he con- 
cludes that until the Union membership takes its own organization at least 
ai~ seriously as do the industrial unions, some of which have accumulated 
as much as $15,000,000 in their national treasuries, that it will not be very 
seriously considered by those outside of the Union; and he maintains that 
its great lack is, "cohesion, concentration, stern and unalterable purpose, 
and earnest and. single-hearted devotion to the serious business of translat- 
ing our ideals and our principles into works and facts." 

The fact that the Farmers' Union has never exercised anything like a 
monopolistic control in the marketing of farm products may be attributed 
to this lack of a definite, united effort on the part of the National Union 
Such was the decision of the United States Interstate Commerce Commis- 
sion m 1911.2 Yet, this does not deny the fact that such monopolistic con- 
trol might be exercised if the organization of the Farmers' Union were 
such as to make it possible. 

The com paratively recent development of the State Exchange as a part 

a'E-^jA,?''°i'''A' "I^f^^oryand Principles of the F. E. and C V of A " 
OnS?»i fl™ "z^"™"'"*// "" Interstate Oommerciv^l II nn 'oi'll 
Quoted from "Co-operation in Agriculture," Powell pa^e 103 



CO-OPERATIVE ACTIVITIES OF THE FARMERS' UNION 51 

of the co-operative program of the Union, promises much for the continued 
stiecess of the movement ; and the closer relations that are being developed 
among the different State officials through these State exchanges promise 
a more systematic directing of these activities. Another promising feature 
of the co-operative activity of the Union was the setting aside, by the 1919 
national convention, a half -day of each convention for a discussion of such 
enterprises ; and the establishment of a national business unit was advised 
as soon as possible. The desirability of uniform accounting systems, and 
of a closer relationship between all state organizations was also pointed 
out at this convention. 

Thus we see in the Farmers' Union a growing sentiment for systematic 
procedure ; which, together with strict adherence to true co-operative prin- 
ciples, should strengthen its own forces and provide material benefits to 
its membership. 



CHAPTER III 
THE LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM OF THE FARMERS' UNION 

Union Pukposes in Legislative Activity 

The growtk and activity o£ the Farmers' Union may be divided into 
four periods: organization, education, co-operation, and legislation. A 
systematic adherence to the last, or legislative activity, is of only recent 
importance. But determined efforts are now being made by the Farmers' 
Union, and especially by the recently perfected National Board of Farm 
Organizations,^ to protect and promote the interests of the farmer by legis- 
lative enactment. 

The Farmers' Union, in its legislative activity, has not been unmindful 
of the fatal results of the political activity of the Farmers' Alliance. The 
policy of the Alliance of unhesitatingly expressing its approval or dis- 
approval of any candidate or political question paved the way for its final 
break-up into as many hostile factions as there were candidates and prin- 
ciples before the people. 

Profiting from this experience of the Alliance, the Union has directed 
/ its legislative activity less promiscuously, centering its attention on vital 
problems that concern the farmer. The revoking of the charter of the first 
local union because of political activity," and the meting out of the same 
fate to a local union in Mississippi'* proves the determination of the Farm 
ers' Union to steer clear of these "entangling alliances." 

This same principle was manifested by the National Convention which 
met in 1916, when H. C. Lansdon, "for the good of the order" asked that 
the committee be recalled that had been appointed to draft resolutions 
urging his appointment as Secretary of Agriculture. The thanks of the 
Union were then extended to Mr. Lansdon for this refusal to permit an act 
that might have benefited him personally but which might have had a 
tendency to injure the Union. 

However, there is abundant evidence to show that the Union does favor 
concerted action, legislative, political, or otherwise, that will secure the 
enactment of legislation favorable to the farmer. As early as 1909 Presi- 
dent C. S. Barrett stressed the value of such concerted political activity 
in his "History, Times, and Mission of the Farmers' Union." In 1916, he 
said: "I want you to know just who are j^our friends and to do your best 
to put them where they can do you the greatest good ; ' ' and again this same 
address to the National Convention: "No amount of party classing shall 
drive the Union from the support of its friends nor force it to sustain its 
enemies." 
^ The Union claims of legislative activity are set forth iu a chart that is 

< Fnr a fviller account of tb1g organization see Appendix A. 
'"Hlitnrp . . . e.te.. of the Farmern' Union," Barrett, pace 103 
' 77)«., page im. 



THE LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM OF THE FARMERS' XJNION 



63 



used by the State officials of the Kentucky Farmers' Union in their organi- 
zation work throughout the State, the contents of which are as f oUows : 

WORK OF THE FARMERS' UNION 



BUREAU OP MARKETS. 
RURAL FREE DELIVERY. 
WHITE SLAVE LAW. 
COUNTY AGENTS. 
AGRICULTURAL SCHOOLS. 
LIVE STOCK ASSOCIATIONS. 
PICKLE FACTORIES. 
TOBACCO WAREHOUSES. 
PEANUT CLEANERS. 
FLOURING MILLS. 
PHOSPHATE PLANTS. 
PACKING HOUSES. 
FARMERS' WAREHOUSES. 
IMMIGRATION BILL. 



PARCEL POST. 
PURE POOD LAW. 
CHILD LABOR LAW. 
CO-OPERATIVE STORES. 
COTTON GRADING SCHOOLS. 
CREAMERIES. 
IMPLEMENT FACTORIES. 
TOBACCO FACTORIES. 
COTTON GINS. 
GRAIN ELEVATORS. 
PHOSPHATE MINES. 
WAREHOUSES. 
CO.'S NEWSPAPERS. 
BANKS. 



GOOD LAWS ON THE STATUTES OF 26 STATES SAVED MILLIONS OF 
DOLLARS IN BUYING AND SELLING. 

INCREASED VALUE OF FARM PRODUCTS IN FARMERS' UNION STATES 
108 PER CENT., WHILE FOR THE ENTIRE COUNTRY ONLY 81 PER CENT. 

The credit claimed by the Union for this exceptional increase in the 
value of farm products in Farmers' Union States is rather extravagant 
when we note that the Union organization is in the best agricultural States, 
or those that are primarily agricultural. The natural advantages of these 
agricultural States accounts for their increased farm products, at least as 
much, as does Union activity. To place itself in the most favorable sec- 
tions and then claim credit for the superiority of that section cannot be 
justified on the grounds of fairness nor of logic. The co-operative activities 
mentioned in this chart have been discussed more fully in Chapter II. ' ' Co- 
operative Activities of the Farmers' Union." 



Peogkessive Movements Supported by the Farmers' Union 

The officials of the Union lay an over-zealous claim for credit in placing 
a number of humane and progressive laws on the statute books of those 
States in which it is active. It is quite true that the Union has favored 
rigid inspection of stock foods, seeds, and fertilizers ; adequate appropria- 
tions for Agricultural Colleges, and for rural schools; uniform textbooks; 
factory inspection; abolition of the convict lease system and the working 
of the convicts on public roads; legislation against undesirable immigra- 
tion; regulation of and prohibiting the practice of dealing in futures on 
margins ; and the adoption of the Initiative, Referendum, and Recall. But 
in view of the general trend of the times and the parallel activity of non- 
union States along these same lines of legislative activity, we feel that 



54 THE FARMERS' UNION 



recognition is due the Farmers' Union for its support of these measures, 
instead of full credit for their enactment. 

Though the Union has taken, at times, a one-sided and unsupportable 
position on local and national policies, on the whole it has taken a whole- 
some and truly constructive stand for progress. We cannot but recognize 
the wholesomeness of the efforts of the California Union for the enactment 
of the bills to make punishable the destruction of food products for the 
purpose of raising the price of the same. Commendable, also, are its efforts 
to make it a misdemeanor for a Board of Trade, Chamber of Commerce, 
real estate agents, or others, to make deceptive statements or publish or 
circulate untruthful literature to make sales and to induce people to locate 
there. 

Another evidence of wholesomeness, on the part of the Union, is its 
favorable attitude towards good-roads legi-slation ; purebred sires; pig and 
baby beef clubs; local, State and national stock exhibitions, fairs, and 
shows ; co-operative efforts to eradicate sheeptscap, cattle tick, etc. ; strin- 
gent dog laws ; the Torrens system of land registration ; anxl other activities 
of recognized merit. 

Rural Ckedits and thh I.Ioney Question 

When the Ilural Credits Bill was before Congress in 1916, the National 
Board of Directors of the I'armers' Union, together rath representatives 
from different State unions met at Washington, in February, to urge such 
legislation. The bill, as finally passed, "was in no sense the bill which we 
desired," according to the report of the Board of Directors to the National 
Convention in 1916. The Union would have the present bill amended so 
that it would be possible to secure money up to 80 per cent, of the value 
o± the land that is to be purchased, and the interest rate would not be over 
4 per cent. It would repeal section 29 of the present bill, which provides 
for the sale of personal property of members of the association in case of ' 
default of payments by any land loan association, and it would pro-vide for 
making the loan direct to the farmer instead of to the association.! 

Another proposal of the Union is concerning the Federal Reserve Bank- 
ing System. Proba])ly, with a few changes in the present system, unquali- 
fied approval would be the attitude of the organization. Its chief proposal 
IS that federal reserve currency be is.sued on insured farm products stored 
m bonded warehouses, and at the same rate of interest as is charged mem- 
ber banks.- That such a provision be incorporated in the bill when it was 
first dra^™ up was strenuously pres.sed; but recognizing the necessity for 
the utmost hquidity m such a currency system, especially in its experiment- 
al stage, the originators of the Federal Reserve System wisely refrained 
from incorporating within the System any more possibilities of unsound 
credit than necessary. It need not be said that the proposal of the Farn^ 
ors^Union is unworkable. Indeed, there may be some merit to it; and 



THE LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM OF THE FARMERS' UNION 55 



as business, including the farmers' business, becomes adjusted to the pres- 
ent System, such ventures as issuing money on products less liquid than 
those represented by commercial paper, may be justified. 

This dissatisiiaction with our established financial system is nothing 
new. At different times we have had those who opposed the system. The 
desire for more money, for cheap money, and the belief that the govern- 
ment stamp alone is the foundation of value for money are some of the 
arguments that have been advanced for a change of some kind. The Green- 
back party in 1878 declared that, " it is the exclusive function of the gen- 
eral government to coin and create money and regulate its value. All bank 
issues designed to circulate as money should be suppressed. The circulat- 
ing medium should be issued by the government." Later opposition to 
the present system was voiced by the Populist Party in its platform for 
1896 as follows: "We demand a -national money . . issued by the 
General Government only, without the intervention of banks of issue, to be 
a full legal tender for all debts, public and private." Mr. Bryan in his 
early utterances also insisted vigorously on the necessity of placing the 
power of note issue exclusively in the hands of the General Government. 

The Farmers' Union is among the later opponents of the established 
financial system. Its fear of the "money trust" is also voiced in the 
report of the Committee appointed by the 62nd Congress to Investigate 
the Concentration of Control of Money and Credit. Part of this report 
was, that, ' ' Your committee is convinced that however well founded may be 
the assurances of good intentions by those now holding the places of power 
M'hich have been thus created [referring to a previous statement of the con- 
centration of the power of a few banks] the situation is fraught v/ith too 
great peril to our institutions to be tolerated. "^ The position that is taken 
by the Farmers' Union may be seen from a report of the Legislative Com- 
mittee to the National Convention which met in 1916 ; the following recom- 
mendation was read and adopted by this convention : 

"Whereas the power to issue money and regulate the value of it by controlling 
the distribution of it, which under the Constitution belongs to the people and 
should be exercised by Congress for their benefit, has been delegated to private 
corporations for their private profit; 

Therefore we recommend that the President of the National Farmers' Union 
be instructed to appoint a committee of five to prepare a money bill in accordance 
with the Constitution and conduct a campaign of education till Congress enact it 
into law." 

A Definite Legislative Program 

The most definite statement of an extensive legislative program for 
the Farmers' Union yet formulated was that which the National Conven- 
tion, of 1919, adopted. This adopted report, which was furnished each 
State secretary and each Farmers ' Union paper, proposed : 

I. An absolute limitation of land ownership. 



' Quoted .from an adopted report of that committee as given in "Readings in Money and 
Banking," Phillips, page 609. 



56 THE FARMERS' UNION 



II. Abolition of absentee landlordism by a progressive tax that would render 
such holdings unprofitable. 

III. Prohibition of land speculation and of corporate ownership of lands not 

necessary for the conduct of their business. 

IV. Government ownership or control of all natural resources; as minerals, 

oil, coal, phosphates, lime, building stone, timbers and water power, to 
the end that both the public and the workers be protected. 
V. Governmental provision of 4 per cent, money with easy payments to en- 
courage home ownership. 
VI. The ability to pay as the only just basis of taxation. 

VII. The justice and equity of interest is questioned and members are urged to 
call upon their pastors to preach the Bible teachings against interest 
taking. 
VIII. Federal Reserve Banks should make loans on insured farm products in 
bonded warehouses on the same basis as to member banks. 
IX. Proportional Representation based on Occupational groups. 

Most of this program, as adopted by the Union, may be accepted as 
sound doctrine and as proposed in good faith ; but at least three of the nine 
proposals, No. IV., VII. and IX., should be subjected to a severe examina- 
tion before they are accepted, or especially before any attempt Is made 
to put them into practise. 

Proposal number IV. should logically include "farm lands," that 
natural resource from which is mined the sustenance of the nation. Such 
is the counter proposal of those interested in the industries included in the, 
proposal of the Farmers' Union. A democracy cannot grant special privi- 
leges to one industry that are denied other industries of like nature. With- 
out repeating the well-known arguments against such a policy as proposed 
in the fourth proposal, we would only observe that farm lands must be 
included in the category for the sake of consistency; else, opposing this, 
the entire proposal must be eliminated on a charge of discrimination. 

Of these proposals, number VII. cannot be reconciled with the hearty 
endorsement of the Rochdale principles of co-operation that the Union 
gives as a basis for all of its co-operative enterprises. The Rochdale princi- 
ples provide for the payment of a reasonable rate of interest on the capital 
invested. An endorsement of these principles, recognizing the justice of 
rewarding a man for the use of his savings as well as for his labor, would 
better be stressed by leaders of the Farmers' Union than the Biblical teach- 
ings against "usury." 

Table number V. shows the change that the Farmers' Union, according 
to its latest legislative program, would make in the personnel of Congress. 
The analysis of the 66th Congress and of the proposed Congress, as shown 
in this table, has been taken from the Minutes of the 15th National Con- 
vention of the Farmers' Union which met at Memphis, Tennessee, in Novem- 
ber 1919. This proposal, number IX. of the legislative program adopted at 
this convention, was vigorously supported by President C. S. Barrett in his 
address to the convention, and is based on the presumption that only 
farmers can represent the farmers. Yet, the Farmers' Union does not prac- 
tise this proposal when sound advice is desired, or when some question is to 



THE LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM OF THE FARMERS' UNION 



57 



be contested before the courts, it makes use of "General Counsels" as well 
as other organizations. The labor unions do not propose to discard Glenn E. 
Plumb, nor any other legal aid that they can get to present their case. No 
trust nor corporation wants to be represented by an "oil man," a "meat 
man, " an " implement man, " a " steel man, ' ' etc. They will choose as their 

lABIiE V. — Ta'ble Showing Occupational Representation in Congress as Constituted 

at Present, and Occupational Representation, Proportionate to the Number 

Engaged in the Occupation, as Proposed by the Farmers' Union. 



OCCUPATION OF 
MEMBERS 


PRESENT 
CONGRESS 


PROPOSED 
CONGRESS 


AGRICULTURE 


18 


165 






MECHANICAL 




140 








TRANSPORTATION 


5 


33 






PROFESSIONAL 


454 










323 

44 

28 

17 

17 

15 

5 

2 

2 

1 




Business 








Educators 


20 


Manufacturers 


Bankers '. 












Hatters 




Iron Moulder , 








TRADE 




50 








DOMESTIC SERVICE 




50 








CLERICAL 




25 








MINING 




15 










54 









This classification of the occupations of the members of both the proposed and 
the present Congress is as given in the legislative program of the Farmers' Union, 
which was adopted in 1919. The report in full is given in the minutes of the fifteenth 
annual convention of the Farmers' Union, which met in November, 1919. 

representative one who has prepared hilmself to be a representative, one who 
knows how to secure orderly legislation ; one who knows what has to be done, 
what may be done, and what is wanted to be done ; a legal expert with train- 
ing in economics and other social sciences. This proposal for proportional 
representation based on occupational groups, besides lacking definite plans 
for determining the proportion, putting it into practise, etc., cannot be con- 
sidered seriously. It would demolish mi orderly system, through which, by 
proper organization, desired measures can be enacted ; and instead, it would 
set up a chaotic system directed by those whose sole qualification, evidently, 
would be class membership. Class clashes on legislative measures could 



58 THE FARMERS' UNION 



not be avoided. It must not be forgotten that a lawyer, against whom this 
proposal seems to be especially directed, may have sprung from any class ; 
and that he has simply prepared himself for enacting such disinterested 
legislation as an intensive study of a question demands. Through a central 
organization, such as is being developed by the National Board of Farm 
Organizations from which united and definite demands can be made by the 
farmers, whether they be members of the Farmers' Union or not, the Union 
should expect more satisfact6ry legislative enactments for its own interests, 
and certainly for the interests of the country as a whole, than can be ex- 
pected from any such revolutionary proposal as "proportional representa- 
tion based on occupational groups." 

At different National Conventions the Union has expressed its disap- 
proval of the "peanut politics and petty graft of the Congressional seed 
delivery." The speedy recommendation to discontinue this appropriation,^ 
made by the Department of Agriculture following the appointment of Mr. 
Meredith as Secretary of Agriculture early in 1920, marks him as one who 
probably would be the choice of the Farmers' Union and other farmers* 
organizations. The attitude of the Union will, at least, be different from the 
dissatisfaction that has been manifested on account of an apparent aloofness, 
and academic consideration of the practical problems of the farmer, that 
the farmers have thought characterized former Secretaries of Agriculture. 
This dissatisfaction gave rise to a recent demand on the part of the Union 
that ' ' The Secretary of Agriculture be a practical working farmer who has 
received the endorsemeat of farm organizations." 

, Besides direct election of Senators, direct election of the President of 
the United States has been urged by the Farmers' Union. It also advo- 
cated direct election of judges of the Supreme Court, and that they should 
serve for a term,2 rather than for life. 

Through the National Board of Farm Organizations, the Farmers' 
Union has opposed the return of the railroads to private ownership. At 
different times it has gone on record as favoring government ownership and 
operation of all means of transportaion and communication, and all mines 
and water power, all to be acquired on a basis of physicial valuation. 

The Kenyon- Anderson Bill, recommending stringent control of the pack- 
ing industry by the Federal Trade Commission, has been approved by the 
Farmers' Union. And special efforts are being made by Union members in- 
dividually, and by the National organization, to secure the passage of the 
Capper-Hersman Bill that is before Congress. This bill would permit far- 
mers to organize and conduct collective bargaining associations based on 
co-operation. Special importance is attached to this bill in view of the 
fact that such co-operative organizations have not been clearly recognized 
by the Federal Government as legal. In fact, certain individuals connect- 
ed with suc h associations were under arrest and awaiting trail for such co- 

"There seems to be no expression, in Union literature, as to the length of this term. 



THE LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM OF THE FARMERS' UNION 59 



operative activity, when the National Board of Farm Organizations met in 
Washington, D. C, in September, 1919. References to these facts are made 
in the minutes of this meeting. 

Conservation of food animals is to be better provided for in a bill which 
the Union would have passed by Congress vesting the control of such con- 
servation in the Department of Agriculture. This bill would give the De- 
partment sufficient financial backing and authority to require the proper 
housing and feeding of all food animals during droughts and winter. This 
bill is directed, especially, at those individuals and corporations that take 
advantage of the public domain, or open range, and do not make adequate 
preparation for tiding their live-stock 'over the bad times. 

Besides encouraging the erection of the Muscle Shoals Nitrate plant for 
war purposes, the possibilities of the plant as a producer of nitrate fertilizers 
has been constantly stressed by the Union as a justification for its erection. 
The Union has used every available means for securing ' ' the immediate ad- 
justing of the Muscle Shoals Nitrate plant to fertilizer production. ' ' 

The Paemees' Union and the "Wab 

"We food producers stand united for the prosecution of the war to a 
successful end," was the declaration of the 13th National Convention of 
the Farmers' Union. However, as we may expect, the Farmers' Union 
is not an exponent of the glories of war. Absolute and unqualified dis- 
armament of all nations is favored, in conjunction with a decided opposition 
to universal military training. To' avoid a hasty and unfounded declara- 
tion of war, the Union would have the power to declare war universally 
placed in the majority vote of the people, both men and women. And as 
an additional step toward establishing a lasting international peace, ap- 
proval of the League of Nations was voted on April 17, 1919, at the post- 
poned meeting of the National Convention which should have met in 1918. 
During the war the Union opposed the issue of more than the minimum of 
interest bearing bonds ; preferring increased taxation on large incomes, war 
profits, and inheritances, and a graduated system of land taxation. 

The Farmers' Union was party to the combined opposition of farm or- 
ganizations which was able to force the repeal of the Daylight Saving Bill 
when the validity of the war-needs argument passed away. 

The Peactical Legislative Peogeam op the Coloeado State Union 
No better example of the most advanced legislative methods that are used 
by the Farmers' Union, can be found than the complete campaign methods 
of the State Union of Colorado. The systematic way in which' the Union has 
gone about getting what it wants is shown in the foUowing pages. Besides 
the claim for credit in securing the passage of favorable laws, and for de- 
feating numerous reactionary legislators, the Union claims that it is respon- 
sible for the defeat of Governor Carlson when he ran for reelection. His 
attempt to ignore, the Farmers' Union Legislative Committee is given as 
the reason for this opposition on the part of the Union. 



60 



THE FARMERS' UNION 



The following blank questionnaire is presented to every candidate for 
public office in Colorado. From the answers, or lack of answers, given to 
this questionnaire it is able to unite on its support or opposition to any 
candidate. 



THE STATE LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE OF THE FARMERS' EDUCATIONAL 
AND CO-OPERATIVE STATE UNION OF COLORADO 

Representing about 20,000 voters, and a rapidly growing constituency, recog- 
nizes the fact that to secure just and equitable legislation, effective administration 
of the laws and justice in the courts, the officials and lawmakers must have ade- 
quate knowledge of the needs and demands of the people they serve. 

Therefore we present to you some of the more important problems that will 
concern the citizens of our State during the next few months. 

We have a strong, active legislative committee and secure our information 
from every part of the State and fully believe that these are some of the most 
important and vital questions that concern the people of our commonwealth. 

We present nothing that we cannot comprehensively outline and stand ready 
to interpret at any and all times. 

W. R. CALLICOTTE, Chairman, 
LOUIS ROBTHER, Secretary 

State Legislative Committee. 

1. Will you support and vote for a 5. Will you support the State min- 
law that will permit the establishment ing of coal? 

of co-operative banks in Colorado? ( ) 

' ) Yes or No. 

Yes or No. 

2. Will you support and vote for 6. Will you support the State Bu- 
legislation that will give us an open reau of Child and Animal Protection 
primary and oppose the convention a; a non-partisan bureau? 

features ? ( ) 

( ) Yes or No. 

Yes or No. 

3. Will you support and vote for 7. Will you support a pure seed 
the interests of the rural school and bill? 

to give the country child the same op- ( ) 

portunity to secure an education that Yes or No. 
the c'ty or town child has? 

( ) S. Will you assist our legislative 

Yes or No. committee in getting hearings and se- 

4. Will you support a herd law curing legislation favorable to the 
drawn up and endorsed by the farm- farming industry? 

ers ? ( V 

* ) Yes or No. 

Yes or No. 

(Candidate's Signature) 

(Postoffice) 
Candidate for 

(State Office you are Candidate for) 
Occupation 

Present the above to candidates for public office in your district, principally 



THE LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM OF THE FARMERS' UNION 61 



legislative candidates. Present in person to candidate, asking him to answer the 
questions with "Yes" or "No." Or if he refuses to answer, give reasons for 
refusal. Give this your prompt attention and return to the Legislative Committee. 

W. R. CALLICOTTB, Chairman, 
LOUIS ROETHER, Secretary, 
Office 303 Bank Building, Denver, Colorado. Legislative Committee. 

Having made such an effort to insure the election of only desirable 
men to the legislature, by the use of the above circiilar questionnaire, the 
Legislative Committee continues its activity during the session of the legis- 
lature that follows. Then a report on what has been accomplished, to- 
gether with an' analysis of the legislature as a whole is drawn up and dis- 
tributed among the membership of the Union. The following report was 
drawn up by the Legislative Committee of 1917 : 

THE REPORT OP THE FARMERS' UNION LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE FOR 
THE 21ST GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1917 

Your committee was on the job during the entire session of the Legislature. 
We made ihe following demands for the farmers of the State: 

1. A law for the State mining of coal on State lands. This was killed by 
corporation influences. 

2. A herd law satisfactory to farmers and stockmen. This law was 
passed practically as we had agreed upon between the Farmers' Union, Grange 
and Stock Association committees — it is a good fence and stock law with the 
arbitration and other good features well defined. 

3. A primary law without the convention feature. The politicians defeated 
this and tried to ABOLISH the primary law. 

4. We asked that sugar factories, coal mines and stockyards be declared 
public utilities. This would have enabled the State to regulate these industries 
by investigations and publications. This the big corporations would not stand for. 

5. We demanded a pure seed law. This we got through after a hard struggle 
and some compromises. 

6. We asked for an anti-discrimination law. This bill passed the House and 
got through the Senate committee and upon the Senate calendar — the bill was 
killed by the Billy Adams special calendar committee. This was one of our best 
bills and must be followed up until we get this protection both in buying and 
selling. 

[7. Not given in this report.] 

8. We asked that farm buildings be exempt from taxation. Of course, this 
measure, though just, got nowhere; at the same time but one-fourth of the output 
of the metaliferous mines are taxed. 

9. We demanded an appropriation for the State Bureau of Child and Animal 
Protection to carry on its work. This was granted with no opposition. 

10. We asked for a law prohibiting the employment of children in the beet 
Industry during the school term and an eight-hour day at the factory and dumps. 
The beet sugar trust killed the measure. 

11. We demanded no change in the Direct Legislation Laws changing the 
percentages. The Senate and the reactionary element in the House came near 
practically destroying this law, and only by the most strenuous efforts was It 
saved at the very last hours of the session. 

12 The school code we declared unsatisfactory and demanded numerous 
amendments. It was defeated because of lack of sufficient time for consideration 
and the opposition of the farmers. 



62 THE FARMERS' UNION 



13. The Teachers Free Employment Agency was defeated because it carried 
aL appropriation. 

14. We demanded regulation ot railway rates, furnishing of cars, fencing 
right-of-ways and payment of full value for loss of stock, but all of these were 
slaughtered by the railroad lobby influences. 

The laws which were passed worth while to the farmers are: The Pure Seed 
Law. The Fence and Stock Law. The Quarantine Law against infected seeds, 
plants and trees. The Support of the Humane Society and the State Educational 
Institutions, and the vocational training provision for Public Schools. 

The Legislature was a reactionary body controlled by corporation influences. 
There were good and true members in both houses, but these were tied hand and 
foot by parliamentary tactics and by committee dominations. 

All that the corporations have to do is to select the two men they want, these 
are the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House; these two appoint 
committees which determine what may be done. The Legislature was a decided 
improvement on the 20th, but it was lacking in leadership for the peoples' rights. 

The Governor has been a disappointment. 

There seems to be but one course for the farmers to pursue in the future; 
do as did North Dakota. Why should we spend our votes for partisan politicians 
switching from one party to another and smarting under the party lash? The 
farmers can unite with the laboring man and elect every State officer and legis- 
lator in the State from the ranks of the common people. There was but one 
farmer in the Senate, Mrs. Riddle, and but half a dozen in the House, lawyers, 
merchants, and bankers predominate. 

We got just what is coming to us for this negligence. The men in overalls 
and jumpers are the fellows who keep the world alive and moving, why not give 
these men of brawn and brain a chance to run the State's affairs as they do the 
State's industries? 

When you take the interest in these State and national matters that you 
should take, we will get what laws are necessary for the good of all, taxes will 
be equalized, proper laws will be enacted and men will be elected to administer and 
execute the laws justly and impartially — until this is done you must not expect 
your committee to do very much for you. 

We later will furnish you with a chart showing how legislative members 
voted on the most vital questions so that you may vote more intelligently in the 
future. Respectfully, 

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE: 

W. R. CALLICOTTE, Chairman, Carbondale. LOUIS ROETHER, Sec, Denver. 

J. H. GOLDEN, Longmont. NEWTON C. DOUGHERTY, Greeley. 

JOHN GRATTAN, Broomfield. 
Office 303 Bank Block, Denver, Colorado. 

The preceding reports were distributed shortly after the adjournment 
of the General Assembly. The Legislative Committee of the Farmers' 
Union, then, worked out a chart in which was shown the vote of each of the 
members of the House and of the Senate on eight of the most important 
farmers' bills. The vote of the 35 members of the Senate was shown in such 
manner as indicated in Chart IV. on the following page. A similar chart 
showed the record of each of the 65 members of the House. The following 
explanation of Chart IV., and of the activity of the General Assembly in 
general, was attached to the chart by the Legislative Committee. 



THE LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM OP THE FARMERS' UNION 63 

REPORT OF THE STATE LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE OP THE COLORADO 
STATE FARMERS' EDUCATIONAL AND CO-OPERATIVE UNION 

This report shows the vote on eight bills in which the farmers are vitally 
interested. The record is taken from the journals of the Twenty-first General 
Assembly, 1917. Here we give the nanie, business and votes of each member so 
far as it can be done from the records: 

1. Column one shows the vote on the bill to kill the initiative and referendum. 
Each check mark shows a vote to nullify this, the peoples' power to make or re- 
peal the laws. This was a corporation measure and a sure index of our enemies. 

2. The anti-discrimination bill, a splendid law for the people, passed the 
House and was killed in the Senate calendar committee; therefore no vote in 
the Senate. 

3. The coal bill for State mining of coal. No record vote, as it was killed in 
the committee where no record is kept. Hetherington and Crosswhite did their 
level best to get a vote, but the coal barons v^^ould, not permit it. 

4. A bill to abolish the assembly feature of the primary law. The politicians 
would not permit a record vote; died in committee. 

5. The pure seed bill, passed with a compromise with seedsman. 

6. The bill reiauiring railways to fence right-of-v/ays and pay full value for 
loss of stock; passed by House and killed in Senate railroad committee. 

7. The constabulary bill, an expensive, undemocratic measure for militarism 
in America, a Prussian institution favored by big corporations and dangerous to 
American democracy. A check mark shows a corporation vote. 

8. A bill declaring certain things public utilities, that they may be supervised 
and regulated the same as railways, a peoples' measure. 

It is difficult to get a record vote as the big interests see to that; what they 
do not want hitherto has been smothered in committee rooms where no records 
are kept. 

The special calendar committee is the slaughtering committee for many good 
bills; the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House work with this 
committee. The corporations have heretofore seen to it that they control these 
two gentlemen. 

You will observe that there were but few farmers and laboring men in this 
session. There should be at least 80 per cent, from these two classes of pro- 
ducers. We must get busy at the primary and general election and vote for our 
own people. Corporations have no vote, we have; your vote or your wife's will 
count just as much as that of the president of a big corporation. We have the 
votes and the corporations have the dollars; it is for us to say which shall con- 
trol legislation. 

Do your duty regardless to the party to which you belong. 

The names of these six senators will go down in the history of Colorado as 
champions of the peoples' rights: Senators DeBusk, Dunklee, Dunlap, Hethering- 
ton, Kluge, and Lewis. These are friends to the common people who deserve our 
support and confidence regardless of party. 

"A" indicates absent. 

Each check mark indicates the number of times that a member voted for 

the measure.' 



64 



THE FARMERS' UNION 



CHABT IV.— SIio\iriiig the Method Used by the Legislative Committee of the Colorado 

State Union for Informing the Members of the Farmers' Union in that State 

of the Vote of Each of the Members of the General Assembly. 

MEMBERS OF THE SENATE AND THEIR VOTE. 



Business 









BlliliS 








■a 


a 














a 


^ 


O 








1 


a 


<H 

O 




H 


5 . 




i 




•a 

m 

s 

;,3 


a 

a) 


o 

a- 


1 


CD 
Oj . 

CD 


1 


i 




-tt 




S 


Pi 


^ 


B 


<i 


m 


H 


fM 


tf 


O 


Ol 


tA 


M 


CO 


■^ 


lO 


CD 


l> 


00 



standing 



1 


Stockgrower 


Ill 


III 

|3 § 




1 

o 

1 


3 
•a 


s 
§ 

1 

■gS 

E 


1 

No 

1 
No 

A 


a 
a 

5 

_a 

1 
P 


For Corporations 


2 


Attorney 


11 


Corporation man 


3 


Minister 


111 


Corporation man 






8 


Mercliant 

Parmer 




Can be trusted 

A friend to tlie people 






17 


Investments 


A 


Absent when needed 


Etc. 










-^v. 













This is an exact copy of the first part of the chart as prepared by the Legislative 
Committee. A similar chart shows the vote of each of the 65 members of the House. 
Names have been omitted from this chart for obvious reasons. 

The Organized Farmer As a Separate Political Party 

As stated at the beginning of this chapter, the legislative activity of the 
Farmers' Union, together with that of other farm organizations, is to be 
systematically directed in coming days by the National Board of Farm 
Organizations. Unquestionably, more definite results may now be expected 
along legislative lines than formerly, because of the united demands that 
can now be made, as compared with the decentralized and often conflicting 
demands that the farmers have made on Congress through their separate 
organizations. Past achievements of the Farmers' Union have been largely 
the result of haphazard recommendations and endless, strengthless resolu- 
tions. The farmer is coming to realize that his demands, and even the 
threat of "the farmer vote," with no systematic directing of that vote, has 
little prestige in political life. But a demonstration of its power by united 
action and a judicious use of that power for the national welfare instead of 
for class legislation will guarantee to the Farmers' Union as an "indepen- 
dent power," growing influence and prestige in local and national poUtics. 

As an independent element giving its support to those candidates who 



THE LEGISLATIVE PEOGRAM OP THE FARMERS' UNION 65 

favor worthy policies, and threatening those who act otherwise, the Union 
should expect to accomplish more favorable legislation for its own interests, 
and certainly more for the nation as a whole, than it can hope to gain as 
an independent party. There are those within the Union who urge sepa- 
rate and direct action for gaining their own ends. Some would go so far 
as to unite with the labor unions to form a new all-powerful third party 
that would take over the government and operate it for their own interests, 
as, they assert, it has been operated during the past years by and for the in- 
terest of capitalists and politicians. Of course we are to remember that this is 
not, nor has it ever been, the policy of the Farmers ' Union as an organiza- 
tion. However, the recommendation for occupational representation that has 
been discussed as a policy proposed by Union leaders, and the attitude of the 
Legislative Committee of the State Union of Colorado, just presented, have 
an undersirable, dangerous tendency that those who have the interest of the 
nation as well as of the Farmers' Union at heart, must guard against. 
To give to one class of our population undisputed control of our legislative 
process could not but direct our national policies along a decidedly one- 
sided course. The welfare of the nation must not be made subservient to 
the interest of a dominant class. 

General Conclusion 

From this study. of the Farmers' Educational and Co-operative Union 
of America we find that it, like all other organizations composed of fallible 
human beings, has its weak points as well as its strong ones. Originating 
in a period and in a section in which there was a definite need for organiza- 
tion for financial as well as for fraternal purposes, it has done much to meet 
that need and has spread generally over the southern, central and western 
farming sections of the United States. Its fraternal features, though worthy 
of mention, have been subordinated to, or at least made a means for, co-oper- 
ative activity among its members. As an organization it is loosely, though 
democratically constructed, and possesses little authority. Its chief function 
has been primarily that of a central organization, which by means of propa- 
ganda and annual national conventions has been able to unify, to some ex- 
tent, the plans and purposes of its members. However, the benefits derived 
from membership in the Farmers' Union, in the past, have rested largely 
upon the initiative and activity of each local and state organiztion. 

At times, under the pressure of real or imaginary wrongs, the Farmers' 
Union has made hasty ventures and has expressed itself as favoring radical 
policies, which can not be supported by a calm, disinterested judgment. The 
loyalty and good intentions of the organization cannot be questioned, how- 
ever, and at this time, probably the eve of an extensive co-operative move- 
ment in the United States with its attendant changes in the marketing sys- 
tem, when a remedy is being sought for the growing scarcity of farmers, 
when there is an urgent need for greater fraternal spirit of brother- 
hood, when the steadying hand of a great independent element of 100 per 
cent. Americans is an absolute necessity; the Farmers' Educational and 



66 THE FARMERS' UNION 



Co-operative Union of America has a great opportunity, together with all 
other farm organizations, to cast aside the temptation to digress into class 
agitation, the prevalent evil of today, and to work out just solutions to all 
these problems and present them in an impartial spirit of nationalism. 



APPENDIX A. 

THE NATIONAL BOARD OP FARM ORGANIZATIONS 

This organization witli headquarters at 1731 I Street, Washington, D. C, 
deserves special mention In connection with a study of the Farmers' Union be- 
cause the Union, and especially Mr. Barrett, president of the Union, has been 
the moving spirit in promoting such a federation of farmers' organizations. At 
the present time this organization is composed of the following: — 

Farmers' Educational and Co-operative Union of America. 

Farmers' National Congress. 

National Agricultural Organization Society. 

National Conference on Marketing and Farm Credits. 

Peijnsylvania State Grange. 

National Milk Producers' Association. 

Farmers' Society of Equity. 

American Association for Agricultural Legislation, 

Intermountain Farmers' Association. 

Corn Belt Meat Producers" Association. 

Farmers' Equity Union. 

National Dairy Union. 

Pennsylvania Rural Progress Association. 

Federation of Jewish Farmers of America. 

At the completion of an audit by certified accountants of the books of this 
National Board of Farm Organizations, on February 18, 1920, it was shown that 
seventeen States had participated in the campaign to raise funds for building the 
"Temple of Agriculture" which is to be the home of the organization. Gross con- 
tributions raised through the farm organizations up to that time amounted to 
$37,783.77; the amounts received from the diiferent States are:' 

Washington and Northern Idaho $20,039.16 

Pennsylvania 11,134.96 

California 1,696.90 

Georgia 926,00 

Iowa 718.50 

Virginia 678.50 

Maryland 558.00 

South Dakota , 557.00 

North Dakota 530.00 

Kentucky 266.00 

Tennessee 229.00 

Montana 190-85 

Michigan 100.00 

Wisconsin 100.00 

Colorado 25.00 

Louisiana 9.00 

Total $37,783.77 

Failure, in 1915, to get Congress to pass special legislation in behalf of tho 
farmers, seems to have given rise to a general spirit of desperation on the part 
of representatives of different farmers' organizations. This crying need for a 
definite formulation and forceful presentation of the farmers' needs to Congress 
which would take the place of haphazard agitation and even contradictory de- 



' These figures are quoted from the "KentncJcv Union Farmer," March, 1920, page 7. 



68 APPENDIX A 



mands that were being made by different so-called "spokesmen" of the farmers, 
became painfully evident in the attempts that were made to get a suitable Farm 
Credits bill enacted by Congress. This need for such a united front was stressed 
by' Mr. Barrett in his address to the 1915 convention of the Farmers' Union. 

Previous to the meeting of that convention, in fact, on May 13, 1915, Mr. 
Barrett had appointed Mr. C. H. Gustafson "to start a movement that would bring 
the several farmers' organizations closer together on questions of vital importance 
to the American farmer.'" Accordingly, on May 17th, letters were sent to Mr. 
Oliver Wilson, Master of the National Grange, and to Mr. M. J. Chryst, President 
of the American Society of Equity. These letters proposed, "the federation, not 
amalgamation, of all farmers' organizations along lines where we fully agree and 
may decide to co-operate in, particularly legislation, leaving each and every organ- 
ization free to continue its own organization and activities along every line where 
we differ in policy and methods." As a result of this letter, the above named 
men met in Conference at the LaSalle hotel, Chicago, Illinois, on June 22,' 1915. At 
this conference provision was made for a "legislative and conference committee 
(composed of) one member from each of the above organizations, with power to 
call in one member from each of any other strictly farmers' organization." This 
committee was to meet again at the LaSalle hotel on July 20 to "formulate two 
bills, one on Rural Credits and one on Federal Standardization, Inspection, and 
Grading Farm Products." These bills were then to be referred back to each organ- 
ization for consideration. A conference should also be arranged by this committee 
which would bring together organized producers or consumers not later than the 
last week in October, 1915. 

Such were tne recommendations of the above committee, they were then sub- 
mitted to all subordinate Granges, local Farmers' Unions, and American Society 
of Equity locals. The committee, together with the heads of these organizations 
then planned to meet in Washington, D. C, on October 5, 1915, "for the purpose of 
holding hearings on rural credits and marketing and the formulation of bills 
embodying [such] recommendations;" also it was to be their purpose to form 
plans "for the continued co-operation among organized farmers of the United 
States." 

The Farmers" Union has continued to stress the need for such federated 
activity as is now being done by the N. B. F. O., or National Board of Farm 
Organizations. The close relation that exists between the Farmers' Union and this 
new organization may be also gathered from the fact that Mr. Barrett was sent to 
Paris as the representative of both the Farmers' Union and the N. B. F. O.; that 
he and Chairman McAulifle of the Board of Directors of the Union, spoke in numer- 
ous States in the interest of the new federation; and that the Directors of the 
Union have authorized financial support of the new organization. With the suc- 
cessful establishment of this new organization, it may be well that the recom- 
mendation of the tenth Annual Convention of the Farmers' Union that National 
Union headquarters be established at Kansas City, Missouri, has not been carried 
out. A vital, effective headquarters of all farmers' organizations could be profit- 
ably federated as proposed, so that a united front could be presented in the con- 
structive attempts that must be made to solve those problems that are of special 
interest to the farmer. 

General conventions have been held by the N. B. F. O. at Washington, one in 
October, 1919, and another in February, 1920.' The hindrance to the success of such 
an undertaking, as seen by Mr. John A. McSparren, Master of the Pennsylvania 



^Mmutes of the 1915 Convention of the Farmers' Union, pp. 27-28 report of tho siiiP<>iBi 
committee appointed to confer with other farm organizations with relation to federatiou 

= Ihid. 

3 Important resolutions passed by this convention are given in "The Kentuni-,, rr«;n«. 
Farmer." March, l!l-0. A c|i,estionnal.-e that has been sent to all presidential oandrt«S^» 
given in "The National StocJnnan and Farmer'' (or March 27, 1920, page Ss! caididates is 



APPENDIX A 69 



State Grange, and Treasurer of the N. B. F. O., is that, "the farmer wants a 
fellow to run his business without paying for it; . . . there is nothing in 
sending a committee to Washington and staying there over night."' 



APPENDIX B 



CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS OP THE FARMERS EDUCATIONAL AND 
CO-OPERATIVE UNION OF AMERICA 



(Revised and Adopted by National Convention, Memphis, Tenn. 
Nov. 18, 19, 20, 1919.) 



CONSTITUTION 



ARTICLE I. 
1 Preamble and Name. 

In the course of modern industrial development we find it necessary that the 
farmer not only apply the principles of scientific agriculture, but that he system- 
atize his business by co-operation and apply the principles of scientific commerce. 

Expensive and wasteful methods of exchange have been a constant drain on 
the farming class, and speculation has been allowed to demoralize markets and 
prevent the normal operation of the law of supply and demand. 

To enable farmers to meet these conditions and protest their interests, we 
have organized the Farmers" Educational and Co-operative Union of America, and 
declare the following: 

ARTICLE II. 
Purposes. 

To secure equity, establish justice and apply the Golden Rule. 

To discourage the credit and mortgage system. 

To assist our members in buying and selling. 

To educate the agricultural classes in scientific farming. 

To teach farmers the classification of crops, domestic economy and the pro- 
cess of marketing. 

To systematize methods of production and distribution. 

To eliminate gambling in farm products by Boards of Trade, Cotton Exchanges 
and other speculators. 

To bring farming up to the standard of other industries and business enter- 
prises. 

To secure and maintain profitable and uniform prices for cotton, grain, live 
stock and other products of the farm. 

To strive for harmony and good will among all mankind and brotherly love 
among ourselves. 

To garner the tears of the distressed, the blood of martyrs, the laugh of inno- 
cent childhood, the sweat of honest labor, and the virtue of a happy home as the 
brightest jewels known. 

1 Quoted from a speech delivered before the Federated Farmers' Convention, at Lexington, 
Kentucky, May 31, 1919 ; printed in "The Kentucky Union Parmer," July, 1919, page 6. 



70 APPENDIX B 



ARTICLE III. 

How Composed. 

The Farmers' Educational and Co-operative Union of America, hereinafter 
designated as the "National Union," shall be composed of its officers, State Unions, 
and county and local iinions, not organized into State Unions. 



ARTICLE IV. 
Membership. 

Sec. 1. Eligibility — Any white person or Indian may he admitted to member- 
ship, if of sound mind, over the age of 16 years, of industrious habits, believes in 
a Supreme Being, is of good moral character, and if a farmer, country mechanic, 
school teacher, physician or minister of the gospel, and not engaged in any ol the 
following occupations, to-wit: Banking, Merchandising, Practicing Law, or belong- 
ing to any trust or combine that is for the purpose of speculating in any kind of 
agricultural products, or the necessities of life, or anything injuriously affecting 
agricultural interests; provided, that ownership of bank stock by any actual 
fa!rmer shall not be construed as making him ineligible to membership. 

Sec. 2. Females over 16 years are eligible to membership in the local, county 
and State Union, with all the rights and privileges of male members, but shall be 
exempt from all fees and dues. 

Sec. 3. Negroes or persons of African descent shall not be admitted to 
membership to any local, district or State Union. 

Sec. 4. No person shall be eligible to membership who has not lived within 
the jurisdiction of the Union to which he applies for at least three months, pro- 
vided, however, that should he be able to furnish proof of good moral character 
and good citizenship where he formerly lived, he shall be considered eligible. 

Sec. 5. It is provided that all editors of newspapers are eligible to member- 
ship who will take the^ following obligation : I 

do solemnly promise, upon my honor, that I will openly support the principles of 

the Union through the columns of my paper, the 

and will do all in my power to promote the upbuilding of the cause of Agriculture 
and the interest of this cooperative Union. I furthermore solemnly promise that 
1 will not publish adverse criticisms of any farmers' Union, officers or members 
thereof, but reserve the right to bring any matter I may deem deserving of ad- 
verse criticism to the attention of the Union, local, county or State, while in 
executive session, and should the time ever come when I cannot conscientiously 
keep the foregoing obligation, I will quietly withdraw from the Union and remain 
quiet concerning the workings of the same. Provided, further, that said editor be 
not engaged in any of the occupations prohibited by Section 1. 

Sec. 6. No person shall be disqualified for membership on account of his 
political or religious views. 

Sec. 7. All elections for membership in the Union shall be by ballot; and 
three black balls shall reject. 

Sec. 8. Any person qualif.od for membership under this constitution wishing 
to become a member of the Union, after the Union has been organized and char- 
tered, shall be required to to offer his or her application in writing at a stated 
meeting, giving age, occupation and why he wants to become a member, applica- 
tion to be accompanied by the initiation fee. Upon receipt of same, the President 
shall appoint a committee of three to investigate the character of the applicant, 
who shall report as soon thereafter as convenient. The candidate may be initiated 
at said meeting, if he so desires, and if It suits the convenience of the Union. 



APPENDIX B 71 



ARTICLE V. 
Locals. 

Sec. 1. Numbers — No local Union shall be organized with les? than five male 
members and no charter shall be issued until the fee, which in no State shall be 
less than $15.00 has been paid. 

Sec. 2. Charter — A charter is the authority under which a Union works and 
it is the duty of the President to see that the charter is present when the Union 
is open for business. 

ARTICLE VI. 

County Unions. 

Five or more local Unions may form a county Union which shall receive a 
charter from the State Secretary in organized States, and in unorganized States 
shall receive the charter from the National Secretary. 

ARTICLE VII. 
State Unions. 

Any State having a membership of 5,000 male members may be granted a 
State charter. 

Each State shall have the right to regulate its own fees and dues for State, 
County and Local purposes, enact all laws, rules and regulations governing the 
membership and subordinate Unions, in its jurisdiction, provided, said laws, rules 
and regulations shall not conflict with the Constitution and By-Laws. 

ARTICLE VIII. 

Officers. 

The officers of the National Unions shall be a President, Vice-President, Sec- 
retary-Treasurer and General Organizer, and five Directors. 

ARTICLE IX. 

The President, Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer and Directors shall be 
elected annually and hold office for a term of one year, or until their successors 
are elected and qualified. 

ARTICLE X. 

Annual Meetings. 

The annual meeting shall be held on the third Tuesday in November of each 
year, at such place as may be designated by the Board of Directors, and shall 
remain in session until the business is disposed of. 

ARTICLE XI. 
Representation. 

Sec 1 Ex-Offxio-The National officers, including the Board of Directors, 
shall be the ex-oKxlo members of the National Convention. 

Sec 2 Delegates-Eact State Union havmg a membership of LO"" «) t.,uuu 
shall be entitled ?o one delegate and one additional delegate for each additional 



72 APPENDIX B 



5,000, or major fraction thereof, in good standing on October 31st, preceding the 
meeting of the National Convention, and each delegate or delegation shall be 
entitled to one vote for each 1,000 members in good standing at said time, in the 
State represented, provided that no delegate shall have more than 7 votes. 

ARTICLE XII. 

Management. 

The affairs of the National Union shall be managed by the Board of Directors 
through the Executive Officers of the National Union. 

ARTICLE XIII. 

Amendments. 

Amendments to the Constitution of the National Union may be made in either 
of two ways, as follows: First, the annual Convention may propose amendments 
to the Constitution of the National Union, which proposed amendments, if adopted 
by a majority vote of the said annual convention shall be submitted to a referen- 
dum vote of the membership of the National Union in the manner prescribed in 
the by-laws for referendum votes. Second, any State Union at its annual conven- 
tion, or a specially called convention for the purpose, may formulate proposed 
amendments to the National Constitution and forward same in the exact form 
desired, to the Secretary of the National Union, who shall within twenty days 
submit said proposed amendment to a referendum vote of the membership of the 
National Union, in the manner prescribed in the by-laws for referendum votes. 

ARTICLE XIV. 
Initiative and Referendum. 

The right of the initiative and referendum, the recall, and the imperative 
mandate shall not be denied the members of the Union. 

Five per cent, of fee membership may petition the President to submit to 
a referendum vote any measure, or ask the recall of any officer, and upon receipt 
of such petition he shall submit the same to a referendum vote of the entire mem- 
bership at such time and in such manner as may be directed in the by-laws. 

ARTICLE XV. 

By-Laws. 

The National Convention shall adopt such by-laws as may be necessary for 
control of the afCairs of the National Union. 

ARTICLE XVI. 

Constitution and By-Laws. 

State Unions may adopt laws and rules for the government of their affairs 
provided such laws or rules shall not conflict with the Constitution and By-Laws 
of the National Union. 



APPENDIX B 73 



BY-LAWS. 

ARTICLE I. 
Duties of Officers. 

Sec. 1. President— The President shall be the executive officer of the Union. 
He shall preside at the annual meeting and appoint such officers as are necessary 
from the delegates present to aid him in conducting the work of the convention 
and preserving order and secrecy o£ the session. He shall decide all questions 
of constitutional law. He shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Directors, 
but shall have no vote except in case of a tie and shall perform such other duties 
as may be required of him by the Board of Directors. He shall receive for his 
services a salary of $4,000.00 per year, and all actual traveling expenses when 
called from home. 

Sec. 2. Vice-President— The Vice-President shall perform the duties of the 
president m his absence, or in case of his inability or refusal to act. 

Sec. 3. Secretary-Treasurer — The Secretary-Treasurer shall keep a record' of 
the proceedings of each annual meeting of the Board of Directors. He shall receive 
and receipt for all money due the Union, and pay out the same upon order of the 
Board of Directors, duly signed by the president. He shall keep the books of his 
office in accordance with the instructions of the Board of Directors, and issue all 
charters in unorganized States, and for State Unions, and perform such other 
duties as may be required of him. He shall receive for his services a salary of 
$2,500.00 a year, transportation, and hotel expenses not to exceed $5.00 per day 
when called from home. 

Sec. 4. Board of Directors — The Board of Directors shall have power to 
designate the manner of keeping the books and records and accounts of the Union, 
and it shall be their duty to see that all accounts are kept in a neat, accurate and 
proper manner, and that the books are written up and posted kt all times to the 
end that an inspection of the same at any time will disclose the true condition 
of the Union. They shall require a trial balance to be taken at the close of each 
month, and shall submit to each annual convention a full and complete statement, 
showing the receipts and disbursements, and the actual condition of the Union. 

Bond — The Board of Directors shall provide a good and sufficient bond in a 
reliable surety company for all officials and employes whose duty it is to handle 
the money of the Union. 

Removal — The Board of Directors shall have the power to remove any officer, 
agent or employe at any time for misconduct in office, incompetency, or dis- 
honesty; provided, that accused has the right to be heard at a trial before all 
elected officers. 

Vacancies — The Board of Directors shall have power to fill any vacancy ap- 
pointment. Such appointee shall hold office for the unexpired term or until the 
next annual meeting, unless removed for cause. 

Attorney — The Board of Directors may appoint an attorney and such agents 
or other representatives, and employ such persons as may be necessary to properly 
conduct the business of the Union, but all such appointments shall be subject to 
the pleasure of the Board as to the time of employment. 

Compensation — The Board shall fix the compensation for officers not otherwise 
provided for. The Board of Directors shall receive a per diem of three dollars, 
transportation and an allowance not to exceed five dollars a day for expenses 
when called from home. 

Quarterly Meeting — The regular quarterly meeting of Directors shall be on 
the third Tuesday of February, May, and August. 

Annual Meeting— The annual meeting of the Board of Directors shall be held 
Immediately after the adjournment of the National Convention. 



74 APPENDIX B 



Special Meetings — Special meetings may be called by the president or three 
directors, five days' notice by wire, or ten by mail, having been given each mem- 
ber, designating the purpose, time and place of holding such meetings. 

Quorum — Three members of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum 
for the transaction of business. 

ARTICLE II. 
Political Office. 
No National or State officer shall hold any political office. 

ARTICLE III. 

Annual Dues. 

The dues for the National Union shall be twenty-five cents per year per capita, 
payable quarterly. Each State shall collect and must remit before the close of 
each quarter the dues for the current quarter: and membership cards shall be 
forwarded by the National Secretary to the State Secretary, and "by him forwarded 
through the regular channel to the Secretaries of all local Unions for all members 
whose dues are paid, provided that no cards shall be sent out in blank by the 
State Secretaries; provided, further, that nothing in these by-laws shall be con- 
strued to prevent State Unions from collecting all dues, annually, semi-annually 
or otherwise. Each State Secretary shall be required to make a certified report 
quarterly of all '.he money collected by him and 30 days prior to the meeting of 
the National Convention, he shall furnish a complete list of all the warehouses and 
©levators built and established during the year with cost of same. 

ARTICLE IV. 

Quorum. 

A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of one or more dele- 
gates from a majority of the States entitled to representation. 

ARTICLE V. 

Credentials. 

All delegates to the National Convention shall file their credentials with the 
National Secretary-Treasurer at least ton days prior to the annual meeting, and 
said credentials shall be signed by the President and Secretary-Treasurer of the 
State Union. 

ARTICLE VI. 

Expenses of Delegates. 

All delegates to the National Convention shall receive actual expenses for 
attendance, not to exceed $5.00 per day, and transportation to be paid bv the 
National Union. 

ARTICLE VII. 
Attendance. 
Delegates absenting themselves from the sessinn nf +1,= i.t <.■ 
Without consent of the presiding officer shal^not b^ alwedexpenses "''^"^^^ 



APPENDIX B 75 



ARTICLE VIII. 
Charters. 

Sec. 1. Fees — No local Union ahall be organized with less than five male 
members, and no charter shall be issued until the fee, which in "no State shall be 
less .than $15.00, has been paid. 

Sec. 2. Authority— A charter is the authority under which a Union works, 
and it is the duty of the President to see that the charter is present when the 
meeting is open for business. 

Sec. 3. In unorganized States, county Unions may be chartered when five 
local Unions in said county have secured charters. 

Sec. 4. States having been chartered shall have full power to issue all 
charters within their jurisdiction. 

Sec. 5. Duplicate — Duplicates of all charters lost or destroyed shall be issued 
without cost to any such Union; provided, satisfactory evidence is furnished the 
State Secretary or National Secretary under whose jurisdiction the same was is- 
sued; and provided, further, that the names of the officers are supplied. 

Sec. 6. The charter of any local, county or State Union may be revoked for 
the following causes and no other: 

(1st) For delinquency in payment of dues. 

(2nd) For open violation of the Constitution and By-Laws under which said 
Union may be chartered. 

(3rd) Where such charter was obtained through fraud or misrepresentation, 
and where the true condition existing at the time such charter was. issued, did not 
justify the issuing of said charter. 

Sec. 7. The President of the State Union only shall have the right to revoke 
the charter of a local or county Union under his jurisdiction. 

Sec. 8. Suspension — The President of the National Union shall have the right 
to suspend the charter of a State Union, provided, such suspension is approved 
by the Board of Directors and then such suspension shall be enforced until the 
next annual meeting to which body the right of appeal is reserved to the defendant 
State, and if the National meeting shall affirm the action of the President and 
Directors, then said charter shall be revoked. 

ARTICLE IX. 
IVIanual. 

Sec. 1. The manual is the guide for the work of the Union and may be revised 
and changed at any National meeting v/ithout being submitted to a referendum 
vote. 

Sec. 2. It shall be the duty of the Board of Directors to furnish the State 
Secretaries, at a minimum cost, the required number of manuals for each State, 
from time to time, upon proper request being made. 

ARTICLE X. 

Rules of Order. 

The Convention may make its own rules and regulations but in the absen(^e 
of established rules, procedure shall be governed by Roberts' Rules of Order. 

ARTICLE XI. 
Fees and Dues. 
Sec. 1. A membership fee shall be paid by each male member. Said fee shall 



76 APPENDIX B 



be fixed by the Board of Directors for the States not having a State Union, but 
after a State Union has been chartered, the fee shall be fixed by said State for its 
own jurisdiction; provided, the fee in any State be not less than One Dollar. 

ARTICLE XII. 

Sec. 1. Card — No member is entitled to membership card until all dues are 
paid. 

Sec. 2. Meetings — It is recommended that all local Unions shall meet as often 
a» twice a month, and shall have as many call meetings as the business of the 
Union may demand. 

Sec. 3. Committees — All committees shall be appointed by the president 
unless otherwise ordered by the Convention. 

Sec. 4. Voting — ^AU members present at any meeting should vote on all ques- 
tions proposed; provided, visiting members may be considered in an advisory 
sense, but not allowed to vote. 

Sec. 5. Secrets — If any member shall disclose or divulge secrets of the 
Union to any one not entitled to receive them, shall upon conviction, be expelled 
from the Union, and his name published throughout the jurisdiction of the Union. 

Sec. 6. Renewal of IVIembership^-WheD an applicant has been rejected or a 
member expelled from the Union, he shall not be permitted to renew his applica- 
tion for the space of three months. 

Sec. 7. Personal Differences — ^When personal differences or pecuniary differ- 
ences arise between members of the Union, it is hereby recommended that as a 
last resort the Union take it up and arbitrate the matter in which case the Union 
shall take such steps as it sees proper, and from which decision there shall be no 
appeal. 

Sec. 8. Demit — ^Any member clear on the books and otherwise in good stand- 
ing, wishing to transfer his membership to any other local Union, shall be fur- 
nished a demit signed by the President and Secretary under seal. 

Sec. 9. Membership Renewal — ^Any member holding a demit and wishing to 
afliliate with another local Union, shall file his demit with the Secretary-Treasurer 
of the local Union to which he made application for membership and shall be 
declared elected only after a two-thirds ballot, provided that the Secretary-Treas- 
urer shall collect from the applicant such dues as would have accrued had no 
demit been issued; provided, further that said demit shall be void unless applica- 
tion be made within the period for which the holder's dues have been paid; pro- 
vided, further that the Secretary of the receiving local shall forward said demit 
to the State Secretary. 

Sec. 10. Division of Locals — Provision is hereby made by which any local 
Union may separate and form two Unions by a two-thirds majority vote; in case 
it? membership becomes too large or unwieldy. An extra charter shall be furnished 
without fee, when application has been made by giving names of charter members, 
provided the new Union shall not be located nearer than one mile from the parent 
Union. 

Sec. 11. Union of Locals— Where it is deemed best for the good of the Union, 
two local Unions may unite their membership by a two-thirds vote in each Union 
and by surrendering one charter. 

Sec. 12. Secret Ballot— All elections of officers shall be by secret ballot, unless 
by unanimous consent. A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of 
five members. 

Sec. 13, Sickness— It shall be the duty of each local Union to render assist- 
ance to all sick and distressed members; and the President and Vice-President 
shall constitute a relief committee and upon evidence of the sickness of any mem- 
bers, the President shall appoint a committee to render all necessary assistance. 



APPENDIX B 77 



who shall have the authority to use any funds belonging to the Union not other- 
wise appropriated. 

Sec. 14. Religion and Politics— Nothing of religious or partisan nature shall 
be discussed in the Union, and any member guilty of violating this section may be 
expelled from the Union after the second offense. 

Sec. 15. Remit Dues— In all unorganized States it shall be the duty of each 
local Secretary to remit one-half of all membership fees with one-third of the 
dues quarterly in advance to the National Secretary. 

ARTICLE XIII. 

Sec. 1. A County Union may be formed in any county having five chartered 
Unions. 

Sec. 2. A County Union shall be composed of its officials and one delegate 
for every ten members or major fraction thereof, and one delegate at large from 
the local Union; provided, any county may change Its basis of representation by 
a two-thirds vote at any regular meeting. 

Sec. 3. Local and County Unions may increase their dues for special purposes. 

ARTICLE XIT. 
Manner of Conducting Referendum Votes. 

Whenever any matter arising in the Union shall require referendum vote, the 
manner of conducting such vote shall be as follows: 

The form of the referendum ballot shall be prepared by the National Secretary 
and shall be submitted by him to the several State Secretaries, who in turn shall 
submit said ballots to the local secretaries. The above mentioned forms of referen- 
dum ballots shall contain thereon instructions from the National Secretary to the 
effect that the return of the referendum voting must be in the hands of the 
National Secretary not later than sixty (60) days from the date when such ballots 
were sent out from the National office. The return of the results of the referendum 
voting shall be made from local secretaries to State secretaries, and from State 
secretaries to the National Secretary. The National Secretary shall submit the 
above mentioned forms of referendum ballots to the State secretaries within 
twenty (20) days after he receives notice of the initiation of said referendum. 

The foregoing is a correct copy of the Constitution and By-Laws of the 
Farmers' Educational and Co-operative Union of America as amended, revised and 
adopted by the Annual Convention of 1919, and as compiled by the Committee on 
Constitution and By-Laws. 

Signed : 

J. W. BATCHBLLER, Chairman. 
DAN THURSTON, Secretary. 

T. A. HOUGAS, 

B. L. HARRISON, 

G. W. DESHAZO, 

D. E. LYDAY, Committee. 



PARTIAL BIBLIOGRAPHY. 

I. Books. 

Barrett: The Mission, History and Times of the Farmers' Union. 
Coulter: Co-operation in Agriculture. 

Dunning: Farmers' Alliance History and Agricultural Digest. 
Buck: The Granger Movement. 
Phillips: Readings in Money and Banking. 
Powell: Co-operation in Agriculture. 
Vogt: Introduction to Rural Sociology. 
Wolff: Co-operation in Agriculture. 
Agricultural Yearbook for 1917. 

II. Pamphlets. 

Brooks: History and Principles of the Farmers' Fducational and Co-operative 
Union of America. 

Davis: The Farmers' Educational and Go-operative Union of America — What it is, 
and What it is Doing. 

Davis: Supplement A, to the above. 

Special reports of committees of the Farmers' Union. 

Minutes of National Conventions and Mass Meetings held by the Farmers' Union. 

Minutes of some of the State Conventions that have been held. 

Special copy of the Legislative Circular of the Colorado State Union. 

III. Periodicals. 

Wallace's Farmer, January 2, 1920. 
The Literary Digest, May 8, 1920, page 126. 
The National Stockman and Farmer. 
The Kentucky Union Farmer. 



IV. Correspondence. 

Special communication from Mr. A. C. Davis, National Secretary-Treasurer of the 
Farmers' Union. 



— A — 

Ameriean Federation of Labor — 
appreciation of by Farmers ' Union.27 
closer relations with Farmers' 

Union 23 

extends greetings 21, 25 

larger than farmers' organizatious.il 
receives greetings from Farmers' 

Union 28 

— B — 

Banks and bankers 20, 21 

Barrett, C. S. — 
at the Paris Peace Conference .. .29 
elected president of the Farmers' 

Union 19 

on transient enthusiasm of the 

farmer 22 

on political activity 52 

opposed for re-election in 1919.... 31 
originator of the N. B. F. O. . . 67, 68 
member, President Eoosevelt's 

Country Life Commission 22 

member, President Wilson's Indus- 
trial Conference 31 

prominence of 5 

recipient of loving cup 22 

states purpose of the Farmers' 

Union 24 

suit against 24 

Bryan, W. J I 55 

— C — 

Capper-Hersman Bill 58 

Congress as the Farmers' Union 

would have it composed 57 

Constitution of the Farmers' Union. 69 

not observed 22 

latest amendments to 30, 31 

Conventions of the Farmers Union — • 

brief summaries of 18, 19 

committees of 21 

delegates to 18 

detailed summaries of 19, 32 

minutes of 32 

official notification for 31 

time of meeting 28 

first, 1905 16 

second, 1906 19 

third, 1907 20 

fourth, 1908 20 

fifth, 1909 22 

sixth, 1910 23 

seventh, 1911 24 

eighth, 1912 25 

ninth, 1913 25 

tenth, 1914 25 

eleventh, 1915 27 

twelfth, 1916 28 

thirteenth, 1917 28 

fourteenth, 1919 29 

fifteenth, 1919 31 



Co-operative activities of the Farm- 
ers' Union — 

advanced steps in 30 

becoming business-like 33, 34 

buying clubs 40 

criticized 50 

efforts to federate 37 

essentials to successful 34 

in 1910 23 

in 1911 25 

in 1915 27 

in 1916 28 

in 1919 30 

in different states 44, 47 

shown by diagram 48 

insurance 43 

manufacturing . . ■ 20, 42 

necessary to maintain membership. 26 

not reported 24 

on Eochdale principles 35 

selling 35 

stores 40 

wholesale or state exchanges. .39, 41 
Cotton — 

broker 21 

marketing 22 

taken out of the farmers' hands.36 

the original purpose of the 

Farmers ' Union 39 

one crop system 36 

condemned by the Union 30 

warehouse system 37 

Coulter, Dr. John Lee 5 

— D — 

Davis, A. C. — 

author of pamphlet 44 

communication from 25 

Secretary-Treasurer of the Farm- 
ers ' Union 24 

Daylight Savings Bill 59 

Discrimination against the farmer.27, 29 

— E — 

Equity, American society of . . . . .-5, 24 
member of N. B. F. 67 



Farmers ' Alliance 8 

Farmer as a separate political party. 64 

Farm Bureau 12 

Farmers' Union — 

a fraternal organization 30 

a successor to the Alliance 10 

and Congress 57 

badge 20 

benefits of, to membership 65 

charter 9 

class agitation, tendency 57 

constitution 69 

criticized by National Lecturer . . 31 

dissensions within 24 

dues paid to Secretary-Treas- 
urer 11, 12 



INDEX— Continued 



early hardships 20 

favors — 

conservation 59 

direct elections 58 

national ownership of public util- 
ities 56, 58 

progressive movements 26, 53 

financial program for TJ. S 55 

first local union 8 

founders of, occupation 10 

General Counsel 26, 37 

interviewed by European manufac- 
turers 6 

label 23 

legislative program of 55 

legislative methods 59 

membership — 

decline in 1911 25 

decline in the South 27 

increase in the Northwest 12 

negroes not admitted 16 

not retained 26 

official 15 

proportion of, to agricultural 

population 13, 17 

women 12 

National Headquarters for 26 

National Union formed 16 

no monopoly 50 

opportunity, of 66 

opposed to Congressional free dis- 
tribution of seeds 58 

origin of 8, 9 

political , activity of 11 

publication 26 

purposes ; 6 

strength of '. 12, 13, U 

work of 53 

Federal Eeserve Banking System ..54 
Federal Trade Commission 58 



— L — 

Ladson, C. T., General Counsel 38 

Lansdon, W. C. — 

endorsed for Secretary of Agricul- 
ture 52 

National Lecturer of Farmers' 

Union 31 

on co-operation 33 

outlines Eochdale principles 35 

Leaders, the need of the Farmers' 

Union 23, 24 

League of Nations 59 

Legislative activity of the Farmers' 
Union — 

criticized 56, 57 

early 52 

formation of N. B. F. O. to secure 

results 67 

in Colorado 59, 60 

program for 55 

report of by Colorado Legislative 

Committee 60, 64 

Wholesome 54 

— M — 

McAdoo,- Secretary of Treasury 26 

Marketing- 22, 25, 29 

hindrances to co-operative 39 

Mass meetings — 

New Orleans, La 21 

St. Louis, Mo 23 

Springfield, Mo. 22 

Meredith, Secretary of Agriculture .. 58 

Minimum price — 

cotton 19, 20, 28 

wheat, corn, oats 26, 29 

— N — 



— G — 
Grange — 

member of N. B. F. 67 

receives congratulations from Farm- 
ers ' Union 28 

Greenback party '. .55 

Gregory, E. . . ; 33 

Gresham, Newt — 

family of 20, 23 

organizer of Farmers ' Union ... 8, 10 

— H — 

Headquarters of Farmers' Union.... 26 
Houston, D. P., Secretary of Agricul- 
ture- 
calls war conference of farmers . . 5 
, conference with Farmers' Union.. 26 



— I — 

Immigration 26 

Insurance in Colorado 43 

International Co-operative ADiance. 5 



National Board of Farm Orgauiza^ 
tions — 

N. B. F. 12, 27, 28, 30, 38, 59 

Composition of 67 

conventions of 68 

financial support 67 

origin of 68 

questionnaire submitted to presi- 
dential candidates 68 

'National business agent 27, 28 

National business unit 30 

National Field, Farmers' Union pa- 
per 26, 27 

National Union — 

formed 16 

its function 32 

Nightriding 21 

— P — 

Palmer-Owen Bill 26 

Paris Peace Conference 5, 29 

Plow Company, John Deere 41 

Populist party 81 

Powell, G. H '.'.'.'.'.'.'. 5 

Progressive movements supported by 
the Farmers ' Union . . .,24, 29, 53, 54 



INDEX— Continued 



-Q- 

Questionnaire — 

Colorado State Union to candi- 
dates 60 

of N. B. r. O., to presidential can- 
didates 68 

— B — 
Ritual — 

for 1911 25 

subordinated 26 

omitted 28 

Eochdale principles of co-operation. .35 
Roosevelt 's ' ' Country Life Commis- 
sion " 5 

Rural Credits 27, 54 

— b — 

Seamster, Dr. Lee, origin of Farmers' 

Union 8 

Southern Cotton Association 5 

Standardization of bolts, etc 26 



Topics for discussion at local meet- 
ings 25 

— U — 

Union of the Equity and the Farm- 
ers ' Union proposed 24 



— W — 

War- 
conference of farmers 5 

convention of the Farmers' Union.28 

effects of, on the farmer 25 

opposed by the Farmers' Union.28, 59 

Wholesale houses or state ex- 
changes- 
co-operative 39, 41, 51 

Wilson, President — 

conference with 26 

Industrial conference 5, 31 



INDEX 



— A — 
American Federation of Labor — 

appreciation of by Farmers ' Union.27 
closer relations with Farmers' 

Union 23 

extends greetings 21, 25 

larger than farmers' organizations.il 
receives greetings from Farmers' 

Union 28 

— B — 

Banks and bankers 20, 21 

Barrett, C. S.— 
at the Paris Peace Conference ... 29 
elected president of the Farmers' 

Union 19 

on transient enthusiasm of the 

farmer 22 

on political activity 52 

opposed for re-election in 1919 31 

originator of the N. B. F. O. . . 67, 68 
member. President Eoosevelt's 

Country Life Commission 22 

member. President Wilson's Indus- 
trial Conference 31 

prominence of 5 

recipient of loving cup 22 

states purpose of the Farmers' 

Union 24 

suit against 24 

Bryan, W. J. 55 

— C — 

Capper-Hersman Bill 58 

Congress as the Farmers' Union 

would have it composed 57 

Constitution of the Farmers' Union. 69 

not observed 22 

latest amendments to 30, 31 

Conventions of the Farmers Union — 

■brief summaries of 18, 19 

committees of 21 

delegates to 18 

detailed summaries of 19, 32 

minutes of 32 

official notification for 31 

time of meeting 28 

first, 1905 16 

second, 1906 19 

third, 1907 20 

fourth, 1908 20 

fifth, 1909 22 

sixth, 1910 23 

seventh, 1911 24 

eighth, 1912 25 

ninth, 1913 25 

tenth, 1914 25 

eleventh, 1915 27 

twelfth, 1916 28 

thirteenth, 1917 28 

fourteenth, 1919 29 

fifteenth, 1919 31 



Co-operative activities of the Farm- 
ers' Union — 

advanced steps in 30 

becoming business-like 33, 34 

buying clubs 40 

criticized 50 

efforts to federate 37 

essentials to successful 34 

in 1910 23 

in 1911 "25 

in 1915 27 

in 1916 .......28 

in 1919 ^30 

in different states 44, 47 

shown by diagram 48 

insurance 43 

manufacturing 20, 42 

necessary to maintain membership. 26 

not reported 24 

on Rochdale principles 35 

selling 35 

stores 40 

wholesale or state exchanges. .39, 41 
Cotton — 

broker 21 

marketing 22 

taken out of the farmers' hands.36 

the original purpose of the 

Farmers ' Union 39 

one crop system 36 

condemned by the Union 30 

warehouse system 37 

Coulter, Dr. John Lee 5 

— D — 

Davis, A. C. — 

author of pamphlet 44 

communication from 25 

Secretary-Treasurer of the Farm- 
ers ' Union 24 

Daylight Savings Bill 59 

Discrimination against the farmer.27, 29 

— E — 

Equity, American society of 5, 24 

member of N. B. F. 67 

— F — 

Farmers ' Alliance 8 

Farmer as a separate political party. 64 

Farm Bureau 12 

Farmers' Union — 

a fraternal organization 30 

a successor to the Alliance 10 

and Congress 57 

badge 20 

benefits of, to membership 65 

charter 9 

class agitation, tendency 57 

constitution 69 

criticized by National Lecturer ..31 

dissensions within 24 

dues paid to Secretary-Treas- 
urer 11, 12 



INDEX— Continued 



early hardships 20 

favors — 

conservation 59 

direct elections 58 

national ownership of public util- 
ities 56, 58 

progressive movements 26, 53 

financial program for U. S 55 

first local union 8 

founders of, occupation 10 

General Counsel 26, 37 

interviewed by European manufac- 
turers 6 

label 23 

legislative program of 55 

legislative methods 59 

membership — '■ 

decline in 1911 25 

decline in the South 27 

increase in the Northwest 12 

negroes not admitted 16 

not retained 26 

official 15 

proportion of, to agricultural 

population .'. . .13, 17 

women 12 

National Headquarters for 26 

National Union formed 16 

no monopoly 50 

opportunity of 66 

opposed to Congressional free dis- 
tribution of seeds 58 

origin of 8, 9 

political activity of 11 

publication 26 

purposes 6 

strength of 12, 13, 14 

work of 53 

Federal Reserve Banking System ..54 
Federal Trade Commission 58 



— G — 

Grange — 

member of N. B. F. 67 

receives congratulations from Farm- 
ers ' Union 28 

Greenback party 55 

Gregory, E ,33 

Gresham, Newt — 

family of .^.20, S3 

organizer of Farmers' Union... 8, 10 



Headquarters of Farmers ' Union .... 26 
Houston, D. F., Secretary of Agricul- 
ture — 
calls war conference of farmers . . 5 
conference with Farmers ' Union . . 26 



Immigration 26 

Insurance in Colorado 43 

International Co-operative Alliance. 5 



— L — 

Ladson, C. T., General Counsel 38 

Lansdon, W. C. — 

endorsed for Secretary of Agricul- 
ture 52 

National Lecturer of Farmers' 

Union 31 

on co-operation 33 

outlines Rochdale principles 35 

Leaders, the need of the Farmers' 

Union 23, 24 

League of Nations 59 

Legislative activity of the Farmers' 
Union — 

criticized 56, 57 

early 52 

formation of N. B. F. O. to secure 

results 67 

in Colorado 59, 60 

program for 55 

report of by Colorado Legislative 

Committee 60, 64 

Wholesome 54 

— M — 

McAdoo, Secretary of Treasury 26 

Marketing 22, 25, 29 

hindrances to co-operative 39 

Mass meetings — 

New Orleans, La 21 

St. Louis, Mo 23 

Springfield, Mo 22 

Meredith, Secretary of Agriculture .. 58 

Minimum price — 

cotton 19, 20, 28 

wheat, corn, oats 26, 29 

— N — 

National Board of Farm Organiza- 
tions — 

N. B. F. 12, 27, 28, 30, 38, 59 

Composition of 67 

conventions of 68 

financial support 67 

origin of 68 

questionnaire submitted to presi- 
dential candidates 68 

National business agent 27, 28 

National business unit 30 

National Field, Farmers' Union pa- 
per 26, 27 

National Union — 

formed 16 

its function 32 

Nightriding 21 

— P — 

Palmer-Owen Bill 26 

Paris Pence Conference 5, 29 

Plow Company, John Deere 41 

Populist party 81 

Powell, G. H \\',',\ 5 

Progressive movements supported by 
the Farmers ' Union ... 24, 29, 53, 54 



INDEX— Continued 



-Q- 

Questionnaire — 

Colorado State Union to candi- 
dates 60 

of N. B. F. O., to presidential can- 
didates 68 

— R — 
Ritual — 

for 1911 25 

subordinated 26 

omitted 28 

Rochdale principles of co-operation. .35 
Roosevelt 's ' ' Country Life Commis- 
sion" 5 

Rural Credits 27, 54 

— b — 

Seamster, Dr. Lee, origin of Farmers' ' 

Union 8 

Southern Cotton Association 5 

Standardization of bolts, etc 26 



— T — 

Topics for discussion at local meet- 
ings 25 

— U — 

Union of the Equity and the Farm- 
ers ' Union proposed 24 



— W — 

War — 

conference of farmers 5 

convention of the Farmers' Union.28 

effects of, on the farmer 25 

opposed by the Farmers' Union.28, 59 

Wholesale houses or state ex- 
changes — 
co-operative 39, 41, 51 

Wilson, President — 

conference with 26 

Industrial conference 5, 31